Indonesia: Vast majority of young people believe the world is becoming a better place – yet impatient for action on mounting crises

New global Gallup–UNICEF survey is first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on the world and what it is like to be a child today.

18 November 2021
Girl smiling

JAKARTA, 19 November 2021 – More than 80 per cent of children and young people in Indonesia believe that the world is becoming a better place with each generation, according to a new global survey by UNICEF and Gallup released ahead of World Children’s Day.

The Changing Childhood survey shows that young people are also more likely to believe childhood itself has improved, with vast majorities believing that healthcare, education, and physical safety are better for today's children than for their parents' generation. Yet, despite their optimism, young people are far from naïve, expressing restlessness for action on climate change, skepticism about information they consume on social media, and struggling with feelings of depression and anxiety.

“Even amid the global pandemic, worsening climate crisis, and unprecedented socio-economic disruptions, children and young people in Indonesia remain hopeful for a better future and are engaged in making this happen,” said UNICEF Representative a.i Robert Gass. “At this critical moment, leaders must listen to the voices of the younger generation who are speaking out and calling for bold, urgent action.”

The global survey is the first of its kind to ask multiple generations for their views on the world and what it is like to be a child today. It surveyed more than 21,000 people across two age cohorts (15-24 years old and 40 years old and up) in 21 countries, including Indonesia. Nationally representative surveys were undertaken in countries across all regions – Africa, Asia, Europe, and North and South America – and income levels.

The survey – conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 – also finds that children and young people are generally more trusting of the national government, scientists, and international news media as sources of accurate information. At the same time, the survey shows young people in Indonesia are aware of the problems they are facing.

  • Most say children today face more pressure to succeed than their parents did growing up.
  • Nearly a third (29 per cent) of young people say they often feel depressed or have little interest in doing things.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) report being very concerned about their personal information being collected when using the internet.
  • Over half (59 per cent) believe children meeting someone in person after meeting them online is very risky.

In contrast to their peers in other countries, young people in Indonesia are less likely to see themselves as global citizens. Only 18 per cent of the 15-24-year-olds surveyed in Indonesia say they identify most with being a part of the world, compared to 39 per cent of young people globally.

The survey also finds young people in Indonesia want faster progress in the fight against discrimination, more cooperation among countries, and for decision-makers to listen to them:

  • An overwhelming majority (80 per cent) of 15-24-year-olds believe it is very important for political leaders to listen to children.
  • Nearly all children and young people believe in a minimum acceptable age for women to get married above the legal age.
  • Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of young people who are aware of climate change believe governments should take significant action to address it. 

World Children’s Day – celebrated every year on 20th November – aims to raise awareness for the millions of children that are denied their right to adequate health care, nutrition, education and protection, and to elevate young people’s voices as critical to any discussions about their future.



Notes to Editors 

Alongside the release of the Changing Childhood survey, UNICEF is launching a new interactive platform, The Changing Childhood Project, containing the full set of data from the survey and the project report. 

The Changing Childhood Project is the first survey to ask multiple generations of people across the world for their views on what it’s like to be a child today. For the project, UNICEF partnered with Gallup to survey more than 21,000 adults and children in 21 countries between February and June 2021. All samples are probability-based and nationally representative of two distinct populations in each country: people aged 15-24 and people aged 40 and older. The coverage area is the entire country, including rural areas, and the sampling frame represents the entire civilian, non-institutionalized, population within each age cohort with access to a telephone.

The countries surveyed are: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cameroon, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Lebanon, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, United Kingdom, Ukraine, USA and Zimbabwe. 

Media contacts

Kinanti Pinta Karana
Communications Specialist
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 8158805842


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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About Gallup 

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