Oliver McAteer
Apr 21, 2020

Here's how young people around the world really feel about COVID-19

An in-depth study by VICE reveals there is a split in what Gen Z and Millennials are concerned about the most.

Here's how young people around the world really feel about COVID-19

Fear and anxiety over the coronavirus crisis is consuming young people around the world, but they also feel a great deal of empathy and are somewhat optimistic about the future, a new study has revealed.

"Youth in Pandemic: Hopes and Fears for an Uncertain Future," a comprehensive study from VICE that includes nearly 10,000 respondents across 30 countries, reveals how Milliennials and Gen Zers are dealing with the pandemic.

It revealed that while Millennials, in the prime of their careers, worry about economic impact, Gen Z, in their social prime, are more concerned about mental health and relationships.

Julie Arbit, VICE's Global SVP of Insights, said: Young people are taking this pandemic seriously. But that does not mean they are completely overwhelmed with fear and anxiety. They are also full of empathy and gratitude.

"While they realize there is a long road ahead, and the outcome is still very much undecided, we see signs of hope for a positive future. Those who see a better post-covid world envision a connected and compassionate global community and a more just society in which we identify and correct some of the current systems that might be broken.

"One of our respondents said it best: ‘COVID-19 is a reset button for humanity.’ Media and brands have never been more needed to help create this change - from connecting and collaborating to informing and entertaining. It’s no longer an option for brands to have a purpose, young people demand it and there is no time like the present to demonstrate it."

The research also found that 87% of all surveyed feel they are doing everything they personally can to limit the spread of COVID-19. And while 55% are feeling an increase in fear, they also have a 60% increase in empathy.

When it comes to trusted news sources, 90% are relying on government organizations such as WHO versus 58% on national leaders, or 53% on local leaders.

Meanwhile, 31% have taken up a new hobby and another 31% have reached out to someone they haven’t spoken to in a while. In short, creativity and connectivity have never been higher among these demographics.

Young people are convinced what is happening right now will change the world forever economically and socially. The way our economy operates and the way we engage with our community are two of the biggest factors. Gen Z is more convinced than Millennials that it will transform how we interact socially, while Millennials are more convinced than Gen Z that this will radically alter how our jobs function.

The research concludes that there is a 50/50 split in opinion about whether COVID-19 will have a positive or negative effect on the world going forward. By generation, 51% of Gen Zers and Millennials think it will have a positive impact. Meanwhile, Gen X is more optimistic at 57%.

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