Global survey finds young NZers more relaxed, confident and optimistic

28 April 2011

A global survey involving University of Canterbury political scientist Dr Bronwyn Hayward has found that young adult New Zealanders are more relaxed, confident and optimistic than their counterparts in other countries.

Global survey finds young NZers more relaxed, confident and optimistic

(From left) UC Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Town, Vice-Chancellor Dr Rod Carr, MP Nicky Wagner, Dr Bronwyn Hayward and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Arts) Professor Ed Adelson at the local launch of the global survey report.

A global survey involving University of Canterbury political scientist Dr Bronwyn Hayward has found that young adult New Zealanders are more relaxed, confident and optimistic than their counterparts in other countries.

The United Nations Environment Programme World Survey of Young Adults Attitudes to Sustainable Lifestyles looked at issues of concern to 8000 young urban adults interviewed online and face-to-face in 20 countries. It is one of the world's largest qualitative survey of young adults' lives, hopes, fears and lifestyle.

Dr Hayward says the survey included 132 young New Zealand adults aged between 18 and 35.

"The New Zealand respondents stood out because they were comparatively relaxed, confident and optimistic about their future despite comparatively modest incomes and high national youth suicide rates.

"Unlike many young adults around the world the New Zealanders did not express frustration at limits to their future opportunities. Their ambitions were modest with most wanting to live comfortably. But they were confident their ambitions could be achieved and expressed a strong sense of wellbeing around their outdoor lifestyles," says Dr Hayward.

The greatest fear of more than a third of respondents was having to live in inner city apartments and unable to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle.

"Being unable to make changes on issues that mattered to them was the second biggest fear of young new Zealanders interviewed for the survey."

Dr Hayward says the findings reveal important issues for politicans and communities, especially Christchurch where over half the New Zealand sample was drawn from.

"The study results highlight the importance of investing in education, health and public space - all of which emerged as important to citizen wellbeing."

A copy of the report - which includes a section on the New Zealand findings - can be found here.

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