A Tumultuous World Through Children’s Eyes

UNICEF x Gallup | The Changing Childhood Project – A multigenerational, international survey on climate change knowledge, information, trust and identity

Changing Childhood Project Map
UNICEF / Artwork by CLEVER°FRANKE for UNICEF

Highlights

We are living in an era defined by three long-term challenges shaping the lives of children around the world. The first is the climate emergency. The second is the difficulty in separating fact from fabrication in the age of digital media. The third is the limited capacity of our political institutions to drive positive change in a globalized world. 

This phase of the Changing Childhood Project – a survey-based collaboration between UNICEF and Gallup – explores how children and young people around the world are experiencing these developments compared to their older counterparts.  

We asked a series of questions to respondents in 55 countries as part of Gallup’s latest World Poll to learn: How well do young people understand climate change? Where do they find their information and how deeply do they trust those sources? And do they identify more as part of their country or local community -- or do they see themselves as global citizens? 

The answers are often as illuminating as they are surprising. For example:

  • On average, across 55 countries surveyed, just 50 per cent of young people aged between 15 and 24 correctly identified the correct definition of climate change.
     
  • While many young people rely on social-media platforms to stay informed, they are the least trusted of any information source the survey asks about.  
     
  • On average, 27 per cent of those aged between 15 and 24 said they identify most with the world as opposed to their nation or local area – approximately twice the percentage of those aged 65+. 
     

While our findings reflect deep fractures, they also help point the way to repair: the climate crisis, through education; the evolving information ecosystem, by supporting children and young people as they navigate it; and the tense global situation, through encouraging a different worldview among young people. 

Hearing the perspectives of children and young people themselves helps us to centre them in the work of improving life for all children, today and into the future. 

Dive in

We encourage you to visit the Project's interactive microsite, designed especially for children and young adults to engage with the Project’s questions – including those posed in the survey – and to explore some of its key findings. For those who wish to delve further, research tools are open to the public.

Cover of the Changing Childhood Project report, featuring a stylized map of the world
Author(s)
Moira Herbst
Publication date
Languages
English
ISBN
978-92-806-5281-9