Apr. 4, 2014
Nigeria is the worst country for young people to prosper despite its
relatively high national income and Australia is the best, according to a
new index on the well-being of global youth launched on Thursday.
The Global youth world index is the first of its kind to focus broadly on
the quality of the lives of 1.8 billion young people aged between 10 and
24, whose prosperity is viewed as essential to building stable societies
and who will shape the economic future of the world.
“Youth compromise a quarter of the world’s population but remain an
under-utilised source of innovation, energy and enthusiasm in global
efforts to achieve and promote the increased well-being of all,” said the
Washington-based Center for strategic and international studies which
published the index.
The challenges facing youth globally are daunting. Nearly half of young
people today are unemployed or underemployed, more than 120 million are
still illiterate and over 40 percent of new HIV/AIDS infections occur among
youth, CSIS said.
For its index, the center measured 30 countries which together compromise
70 percent of youth globally and used 40 publicly available data sets in
six spheres – economic opportunity, health, education, safety and security,
access to information technology, and citizen participation.
The top-scoring countries were all in the high-income category, namely
Australia, Sweden, South Korea and the United Kingdom, while the bottom
four countries were all in sub-Saharan Africa – Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania
The index found that national wealth alone was no determinant of young
For example, Nigeria scored worst despite the oil-rich nation’s relative
wealth because it failed on education and safety, and scored near the
bottom on health and economic opportunity.
Russia also performed poorly. Despite being a high-income country, the
youth index gave it an overall ranking of 25 out of 30 countries, behind
South Africa and Egypt.
In contrast Vietnam, which like Nigeria is ranked a lower middle income
country by the World Bank, took the 11th place, reflecting its strong
measurements in the areas of health and economic opportunity.
William Reese, president of International Youth Foundation and one of the
sponsors of the index, said the findings provide important information that
can help shape policy debate on how to meet the World Bank and United
Nation’s goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
“It cannot happen unless there is economic growth that brings young people
into the economy so that they are working their way out of poverty,” Reese
said at the index’s launch in Washington, D.C.
“We have to get 2 billion people out of poverty and that has to come from
While country specifics differ, the ranking highlights the important role
that investing in healthcare can play toward people’s future well-being.
“Health underpins every aspect of adolescent development. Without health
the transitions through education to employment, civic engagement and
parenthood will fail,” George Patton, professor of adolescent health
research at the University of Melbourne, said in the report.
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation