Inflation crisis

Financial hardship is ruining the future of more and more young people

11.07.2024 16:49

Many young people in Austria are severely affected by the consequences of inflation, as the Chamber of Labor's Youth Monitor 2024 reveals. The financial situation is crucial for the future prospects of 16 to 29-year-olds. But what can be done about it?

The extent to which the financial situation determines the reality of young people's lives and opportunities is serious. This is also shown by this year's AK Jugendmonitor, which examines how social inequality shapes the everyday lives and mental health of young people. To this end, study author Martina Zandonella divided the 1,200 respondents aged between 16 and 29 into three economic clusters. Each cluster represents a group. There are the top 30 percent, the middle 40 percent and the bottom 30 percent.

The bottom third is in a very difficult situation
The top 30 percent are doing very well with the resources available to them. In this group, two thirds are financially supported by their parents and 64% have an inheritance that exceeds the value of a house. In the middle cluster, just over a third of respondents are financially supported by their parents. More than half of this group also have an inheritance that is equivalent to a house. The situation is not so rosy in the lower cluster. Here, only eight percent have any inheritance at all, and only just under 15 percent receive financial support from their parents. 

High savings necessary
All three groups have to make savings, but not to the same extent. All three groups had to make the greatest savings in and around leisure planning. Among the top 30 percent, however, this affected 50 percent less than in the lower cluster. Here, four-fifths of people had to make drastic savings. Particularly dramatic: around a fifth of 16 to 29-year-olds in Austria have even had to overdraw their bank account and have thus fallen into debt. In the last 12 months, many have also had to cut back on food shopping, vacation planning and going out.

Great fears for the future
Young people are plagued by great fears for the future. One point that was frequently mentioned was their own financial situation. Fear of money problems, debts and housing costs are at the heart of this. But that's not all. The fear of failing in their education or career also leads to worries about not getting a secure and good job. The fear of not being able to achieve their own goals is also a recurring theme. Many young people also complain about the pressure to perform at school, in training or at work. Another concern revolves around health - especially mental health. This goes hand in hand with the fear of global crisis events. The climate crisis and the war in Ukraine are repeatedly mentioned in this context.

Little trust in political institutions
The young respondents hardly feel represented in parliament, as the Youth Monitor reveals. Not even half of them feel that their interests and concerns are taken seriously by one of the parties. This can also be explained by the fact that the feasibility of their own plans and goals is becoming increasingly uncertain. Young people can no longer be sure whether it is even possible for them to build something up through work in order to be able to participate in society. 

The Chamber of Labor's demands
The Chamber of Labor has developed a number of approaches to solve these problems. They are calling for improvements in education and training in order to prevent or reduce school drop-outs. They also want to enforce a minimum apprentice income of 1,000 euros and expand career guidance. Another desired point is the creation of affordable housing. For example, rent caps and subsidized housing should make it possible for young people to find affordable housing. And "participation in life" should also be made possible through points such as a reduction in food prices, affordable public transport and fully funded psychotherapy for young people. 

This article has been automatically translated,
read the original article here.

Marie Andorfer
Marie Andorfer
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