The study, which examined data between 2011 and 2022, found that Europe has seen minimal improvement in youth progress over the past decade, with some countries even experiencing regression. Notably, the United Kingdom and France have displayed significant stagnation, particularly in areas such as affordable housing and healthcare.
The Youth Progress Index, which assessed over 150 countries worldwide on various factors including access to education, housing, and personal freedoms, highlighted concerning trends within Europe. France, for instance, saw a decrease in young people’s satisfaction with the availability of affordable housing by nearly 25 points during the studied period. Additionally, the country is struggling with access to secondary education, ranking 48th globally.
The United Kingdom faced a notable slowdown in youth progress, with almost half of its young citizens expressing dissatisfaction with affordable housing. The study also revealed declining satisfaction levels in areas of healthcare, air and water quality, as well as freedom of assembly and discrimination against minorities.
Andreea-Alexandra Scrioșteanu, a Board Member of the European Youth Forum, expressed deep concern regarding the findings. She emphasized the crucial role of public investment and political prioritization in ensuring youth progress. Scrioșteanu underlined the urgent need for enhanced investment in social and economic parameters, especially concerning affordable housing and mental wellbeing, as well as the pressing need to address Europe’s regression in democracy and personal freedoms.
While several European countries experienced stagnation, the study did highlight some positive advancements. Serbia, Moldova, and Albania were recognized as top improvers, demonstrating notable progress in various youth-related metrics. However, the report also underscored the significant progress made by Nepal and Uzbekistan, despite both countries still facing challenges in safeguarding personal and political rights and grappling with environmental concerns.
Conversely, the report noted declines in youth progress in several countries, including the United States and Canada, where concerns surrounding affordable housing and mental wellbeing were significant contributing factors. Additionally, chronic crises in countries like Venezuela, Syria, Libya, Central African Republic, and Lebanon have resulted in deteriorating conditions for young people, with the Youth Progress Index reflecting low scores for these regions.
The findings emphasize the urgency of prioritizing youth welfare and rights to ensure a brighter future for the next generation.