As the first round of schoolies celebrations draws to a close, and parents around the nation begin asking their hungover teen offspring what they plan to do with themselves instead of sitting around the house all day, said teens are asking themselves that same question.

According to a recent survey by Mission Australia, young Australians are pretty clear when it comes to their hopes and dreams for the future, however, interestingly, are also a bit skeptical when it comes to the possibility of actually attaining them.

The survey polled 13,600 Australians between the ages of 15 and 19, and asked them about a number of key aspirations, including career success, home ownership and family.

Some interesting results emerged. For instance, 87.4% said that achieving career success was very or extremely important to them, while 86.1% said the same about achieving financial independence.

What Really Matters to Australia’s Youth in 2014?

While getting paid is a big deal for the adults of tomorrow, only 72.6% said that home ownership is extremely or very important to them, while 67.5% said the same of having a family.

41% said it’s important or very important to feel part of a community, meaning 59% displayed an innate understanding of the fact that other people are weird and gross and it’s better to be out for yourself.

While the youth of Australia may have big dreams, they’ve also learned to manage expectations. Of those who priorities owning a home, only 71% think this is truly achievable, while only 59.9% who aspire to career success feel that it is within reach.

Per the report, overall, a greater proportion of male respondents indicated that
they felt likely to be able to achieve career success, financial
independence, and home ownership than female respondents.

When teens were asked to rank issues of concern, the top three responses were coping with stress, problems with school or study and body image. Once again, females in the survey were more likely to express these concerns than males.

As for their perception of the nation and its priorities, teens said that politics and society values (28%), the economy and financial matters (27.1%) and alcohol and drugs (23.2%) were the key areas.

Over the past two years of survey results, teens have indicated that they care increasingly about mental health, education, politics and societal values, and less about the environment, population issues and safety and violence. 

You can download a PDF of the Mission Australia Youth Survey 2014 here, for a more in-depth breakdown of the study’s results.

Photo: Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images