South African teens were placed 11th out of 20 nations surveyed on their happiness.
South African teens were placed 11th out of 20 nations surveyed on their happiness. This is according to a report called “What the World’s Young People Think and Feel”.

The report, published by education charity the Varkey Foundation, is based on a poll of more than 20 000 people from the participating countries, born between 1995 and 2001.

South Africa scored 60 percent while Indonesia had the highest levels of happiness (90 percent), followed by Nigeria (85 percent). British teens (57 percent) had among the lowest levels of happiness globally, while the Japanese scored 28 percent.

The report also scored teens on mental well-being based on their views on areas such as optimism about the future, feeling loved and good about themselves, and feeling confident and cheerful.

South African teens placed 12th in overall mental well-being. Indonesia, India and Nigeria scored the highest; the UK and Japan, again, were the lowest.

The report compares the experiences of teenagers and adults known as “Generation Z”, who were born around the turn of the millennium, in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the US, as well as the UK. It is believed to be the first international comparative study of the attitudes of young people.

It also indicates that more than two-thirds of young people across the world say they’re happy.

Youngsters in emerging economies tended to be happier than those in developed countries.

More than half of young people (60 percent) around the world think their country is a good place in which to live.

Just over half of those surveyed said money was one of their three main sources of anxiety. South Korea (66 percent), South Africa (60 percent), Canada (59 percent) and Brazil (58 percent) are the countries where the highest proportion of young people say money problems make them anxious.

Nearly half of young people feel pressured by school. Just under a third of them have good overall emotional well-being, measured as those who say they don’t think about their problems too much, and are not currently feeling anxious, bullied, unloved or lonely.

South African teens were most anxious about money, school and heath.

While not at the top of the list of worries, a minority report that social media is in their top-three sources of anxiety (10 percent globally, and increasing to 19 percent in India).

At the opposite end of the spectrum, a further one in 10 say that one of their top-three worries in life is access to basic resources such as food and clean water (10 percent). This worry was more pronounced in China (19 percent), India (16 percent) and Indonesia (16 percent).

While positive sentiment is generally consistent globally, outlook does vary among individual countries. Young people in Canada (86 percent) and Nigeria (86 percent) are most likely to think their country is a good place to live. New Zealanders also hold their country in high regard, with a net score of 81 percent, and similarly do Australians (79 percent).

Net scores are much lower in South Africa (12 percent), Turkey (28 percent), Argentina (30 percent), Brazil (34 percent) and Russia (34 percent), although positive net scores still indicate that a higher proportion of young people in these countries believe their country is a good rather than a bad place to live.

South Korea is the exception to the rule, and the only market in which a higher proportion of young people think their country is a bad place to live, with a net score of six percent.