Exactly a year ago, the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in partnership with Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) conducted a sample survey-based study on the attitudes, anxieties and aspirations of India’s young population aged between 15 and 34 years.
The CSDS-KAS Youth Survey 2016 was conducted in 19 States of the country among 6122 respondents in the age group of 15-34 years. The last such joint survey by the two organisations on India’s youth had been conducted ten years ago in 2007.
Key findings from the survey include:
1. Employment is the prime concern of young Indians. When asked in an open- ended question what they thought is the most important issue facing India, a plurality (18%) said it is jobs and unemployment. About 12% said economic inequality and 9% said it is corruption.
2. Compared to Upper Caste youth, it was found that Dalit and Adivasi youth lag far behind when it comes to access to education. While over two-fifths of Upper Caste youth (42%) reported themselves as students, only about one-fourth of Dalit youth (25%) and a mere one-sixth of Adivasi respondents (16%) said they were pursuing their studies.
Moreover, compared to 69% of Upper Caste youth, only 41% of youth from Dalit and 20% from Adivasi communities were found to have completed college education.
3. Agriculture remains the largest employer.
If one discounts the proportion of youth still studying, agriculture emerges as the largest employer of India’s youth. Agriculture was found to employ about one-fifth (18%) of India’s youth, up by four percentage points since 2007. About two-fifths (39%) of these youth are agricultural workers, working on other people’s lands to earn their wages.
4. Govt jobs still rule.
An overwhelming majority of India’s youth (65%) would prefer a government job, if given a choice. Setting up one’s own business came a distant second (19%), followed by a job in the private sector (7%). The appeal of a government job has in fact increased slightly over the last decade. In 2007, in response to the same close-ended question, 62% of the youth had said they would prefer a government job.
5. Job security IS important.
The survey asked respondents to indicate which kind of job would they give most priority to – a permanent job even if it means drawing a little less salary, a job with an opportunity to work with people of their liking, a job with good income in which one doesn’t have to worry about money, or a job that gives them a feeling of satisfaction. 33% of the youth accorded the greatest priority to having a permanent job, even if it means drawing a little less salary. Job satisfaction came a close second (26%), followed by a good paying job (22%).
Interestingly a good paying job is much less preferred today. In 2007, 35% had expressed their preference for it on being asked the exact same question
6. Politically inclined?
Interest in politics was found to be least among youth from the metros/biggest cities of the country where more than half of the respondents (53%) said that they had no interest at all in politics.
7. To Beef or not?
More than two-thirds of Muslim (69%) youth considers beef consumption to be a personal choice and opposes any objection to it.
On the other hand, only 31% of the Hindu youth and 33% of the Sikh youth seem to concur with this view. However, among Hindus, whether one is a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian makes a significant difference to their opinion on this issue.
Non-vegetarian Hindu youth were twice as likely as vegetarian Hindu youth to support consumption of beef, 40% as opposed to 20%.
8. What’s your Identity ?
Respondents were asked to rank multiple identities – state, caste, religious and national identity based on how proud were they about holding them. While a majority of respondents (51%) said that they were most proud of being Indian, it is interesting to note that almost an equal proportion of respondents prefer other identities like – caste (13%) religion (14%) and region (11%).
9. Two in every five (40%) were opposed to the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
10. Indian youth seem to be quite conscious about how they look and appear. 61% said they are very or somewhat fond of wearing stylish clothes, 58% reported being fond of wearing stylish footwear, 59% are quite fond of keeping the latest mobile phones, 41% have high to moderate fondness for buying perfumes and deodorants, 39% said they like applying fairness creams quite a lot, and 36% reported a high or moderate degree of fondness for visiting beauty parlors and salons.
10. Not Facebooking?
When the survey was conducted in April-May 2016, 75% reported having never used Twitter, 62% had never used YouTube, 54% had never used WhatsApp and 51% had never been on Facebook. In terms of daily usage, WhatsApp was used most (30%), followed by Facebook (25%), YouTube (11%) and Twitter (7%).
11. No Internet?
30% of the youth who owned a personal computer or laptop did not have access to internet on it. Meanwhile 58% of those with a mobile phone had no access to internet on it. Overall, the survey found that 64% of the youth had no immediate access to the internet whatsoever.
12. Stressed out? Depressed?
12% or about one in every eight 15-34-year-olds reported feeling depressed very often. 8% said they very often felt lonely, 5% admitted to feeling worthless very often and about 3% reported getting suicidal thoughts very often and another 6% said get such thoughts sometimes.
Note that the survey (link) was conducted using a standardised questionnaire which was administered face to face at the residence of the respondents. In each of the 19 States where the survey was conducted (Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra,Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal), the questionnaire was translated in the local language that is understood by most people of the state.