Singapore

Young people more open to diversity, more worried about future

In an age of globalisation and disruption, more young people are forging close ties with friends of other races and nationalities, a poll has found.

But they also worry more about future responsibilities and may lack resilience to cope with major setbacks and uncertainty.

These were some of the key findings of the National Youth Survey 2016 released by the National Youth Council (NYC) yesterday.

It polled 3,531 citizens and permanent residents aged 15 to 34 last year, on issues such as national pride and their aspirations.

Three in five polled said they had a close friend of a different race, compared with 53 per cent in 2013, when the survey was last conducted.

Those with a close friend of a different nationality also grew from 42 per cent to 45 per cent.

Asked if they were comfortable working with someone of a different race, respondents rated this on a five-point scale as 4.55 on average, with five indicating "strongly agree". This is up from 4.37 in 2013.

At a press conference yesterday, NYC chief executive David Chua said it was heartening that attitudes towards diversity had improved.

He stressed that it was important not to take this for granted, and create more opportunities for young people to participate in social groups and form bonds with people from different backgrounds.

While they are growing closer to people of other races, young people are not fully confident that they can handle life's challenges.

A new indicator used in last year's survey, which asked respondents about factors such as their ability to bounce back quickly after hard times, found they ranked themselves at an average of 3.29 on a five-point scale, with five being the most resilient.

More young people are also worried about the responsibilities of adulthood, such as being able to provide for their family.

It was one of the top three sources of stress, after uncertainty over the future and studies.

Out of a five-point scale, with five being "extremely stressful", they rated stress about adult responsibilities as 3.3, up from 3.22 in 2013.

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YouthRace & Religionsurvey