Today the International Youth Foundation (IYF) and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), with support from Hilton WorldWide, released the Global Youth Wellbeing Index. This groundbreaking tool examines the quality of life for young people in 30 countries—collectively representing nearly 70 percent of the world’s youth population—and offers the first comprehensive measurement of their wellbeing. The understanding gained from the index will allow policymakers, businesses, and other leaders to invest more strategically in critical youth programming and elevate youth issues to the top of the global agenda. 

Although youth ages 10 to 24 comprise a quarter of the world’s population, they remain an underutilized source of innovation, energy, and enthusiasm. In fact, nearly 300 million of the world's youth are neither working nor studying. Yet, at a time when policy and investment decisions to address these challenges are increasingly metric-driven, existing data on youth development and wellbeing is often fragmented, inconsistent, or nonexistent. 

To provide a complete picture of youth wellbeing, the index assesses 40 indicators across six interconnected domains: citizen participation, economic opportunity, education, health, information and communications technology, and safety and security.

The release of the Global Youth Wellbeing Index is an outgrowth of the commitment Hilton Worldwide and IYF made at the 2012 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting to address the youth employment challenge and the need for more comprehensive youth-related data.

“As a leading global hospitality company, we recognize that helping to improve the quality of life for young people around the world is critically important not only for society, but also for our business,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide. “Young people are the next generation of our Team Members and guests. Having a more holistic, data-driven analysis of the state of their wellbeing will enable us to make more strategic decisions and investments to address their needs.”   

In its analysis, the index includes the following key findings:

  • 85 percent of the world’s youth represented in the index experience lower levels of wellbeing.
  • Across countries, scores indicate youth are strongest in health and weakest in economic opportunity.
  • Even where young people are doing relatively well and display success in certain areas, they still face specific challenges and limitations. 
  • How young people feel about their own wellbeing does not always align with what the objective data suggests.

Understanding the complexity of the challenges confronting the world’s youth better positions policy, society, and business leaders to tackle them. “This index is an invaluable investment guide that will help governments, foreign aid agencies, companies, and philanthropies decide where their resources are most needed and will do the most good,” said IYF President & CEO Bill Reese. “We also hope this comprehensive look at youth wellbeing will elevate the global conversation around critical issues such as youth employment and inspire greater action in response.