To bring youth voices to the forefront of action and policy responses, the Global Initiative on Decent Jobs for Youth (DJY) and its partners including the International Labour Organization, the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, AIESEC, the European Youth Forum, the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the United Nations Human Rights Office conducted a survey on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth. Link to the survey report

The Global Survey on Youth and COVID-19 focused on four areas of impacts on young people: namely, employment, education and training, mental well-being, and rights and voices. It explored young people’s actions with regards to social activism and crisis-response behaviours, as well as their perceptions and experience of policy measures.

  • The analysis is based on 12,605 responses received from people aged 18–34 years.
  • The sample comprised primarily of young workers with a tertiary level education and students.
  • To a varying degree, the survey sample represents young people from all regions, predominantly from middle- and high-income countries and from urban or suburban areas.

Learn more: International Youth Day webinar: Launch of the Youth & COVID-19 Report (Link to the survey report)




Sustainable Development Goals & targets


  • European Youth Forum
  • International Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  • United Nations Major Group for Children and Youth (MGCY)
  • European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa

Key Findings

The Global Survey on Youth and COVID-19 finds that the impacts of the pandemic on young people, particularly among women, younger youth and youth in lower income countries, are systematic, deep and disproportionate. 


  • one in six youth in the survey had stopped working since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
  • The survey found out that those more likely to lose their jobs were younger workers aged 18 to 24 who had limited work experience and where engaged in entry jobs as well as youth working in clerical support, services, sales, and crafts.
  • For youth who remained employed after the onset of the pandemic, working hours fell by nearly a quarter and two out of five young people reported a reduction in their income.
    Young people in lower-income countries are the most exposed to reductions in working hours and the contraction in income.

Education and training

  • Three out of four young students and youth combining study and work experienced school closures, yet not all were able to transition into online and distance learning.
  • COVID-19 left one in eight young students without any access to education or training. Youth in lower-income countries where hardly affected by the disruptions in education. Notably, 65 per cent of youth in high-income countries were taught classes via video-lectures, compared to 55 per cent in middle-income and 18 per cent in low-income countries. These figures underline the deep digital divides that exist between regions.
  • 65 per cent of young people studying reported having learnt less since the pandemic began. As a result, 51 percent believed their education may be delayed and nine per cent feared their education might fail.

Mental well-being

  • The study finds that 17 per cent of young people are probably affected by anxiety and depression. Mental well-being is lowest for young women and younger youth (between the ages of 18 and 24).
  • Young people whose education or work was either disrupted or had stopped altogether were almost twice as likely to be affected by anxiety or depression as those who continued to be employed.

Youth rights

  • One in three young people noticed a marked impact on their right to participate in public affairs, while over a quarter experienced difficulties in exercising their right to freedom of religion or belief.
  • About a quarter of young people felt the misinformation around the pandemic was in fact limiting their right to access information. Basic needs were an issue too: for a fifth of youth, especially the ones out of work, their right to housing was being challenged as they struggled to make ends meet.

Social activism and youth voices on the pandemic and policy responses

  • Young people were determined to step up and partner safely and effectively to “Build Back Better”. Over one in four reported actively engaging in volunteerism and in making donations towards the COVID-19 response.


  • Click the list below to download the full report and the Executive Summary.
  • Read the Quotes Page to explore Youth Voices and Actions emerged from the Survey.
  • Share the Youth Voices and the key findings using the Communication Material available on the Trello Board.  

To access data files please send a request to stating your name and organization.


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