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Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s 2023 “Youth Right Now” Survey Provides Insights on Gen Z and Alpha’s Mental Health, Social and Academic Experiences, Workforce Preparedness, and More

Comprising responses from more than 130,000 kids and teens throughout the U.S., Boys & Girls Clubs of America believes survey is nation’s largest data set on youth.

ATLANTA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#GreatFutures–Boys & Girls Clubs of America, one of the nation’s largest youth-serving organizations, today releases Youth Right Now – a survey of more than 130,000 kids and teens, which highlights their feelings about their mental health and well-being, academics, future educational and career prospects, and the social issues impacting their generation, among other critical matters. Featuring responses from Boys & Girls Club members, ages 9 to 18, across racial and ethnic backgrounds, and located in communities throughout the country, the organization believes it is the nation’s largest data set on youth and an informative look into how America’s young people are feeling in a unique time to grow up.


Among key insights, the survey finds that young people feel hopeful and prepared for their futures, despite national concerns such as student loan debt and the rapidly changing workforce. A majority (75%) report that they intend to go to college, and more than half (62%) say they feel confident they have the skills needed to be successful in a job. Youth are also savvy about what it will take to reach their goals – 93% of 11th and 12th graders feel they know what education or training they need for the career they want, and 91% know the costs to expect.

Conversely, potential impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, like increased social media use, weakened interpersonal skills, and mental health struggles continue to create challenges for young people. Seventy percent of youth report they can’t stop worrying when something important goes wrong in their life, while nearly half (47%) say if they don’t understand something right away, they stop trying to understand. And a notable number (40%) say they were bullied at school in the past year, while 18% of youth surveyed admit to being bullied online.

“We know we’re in the midst of a very real youth mental health crisis, and we’re hearing every day about potential challenges awaiting youth as they head into the real world,” said Dr. Jennifer Bateman, senior vice president of Youth Development, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “This year’s Youth Right Now data shows us that emotional well-being continues to be a critical area where youth need support. Yet, we’re also seeing a number of areas where young people are thriving—one of them, contrary to common perception, is that our surveyed youth say they feel prepared for their career and educational pursuits.”

In addition to providing safe and engaging environments during out-of-school time, Boys & Girls Clubs deliver quality programs that prepare youth to succeed at school, in their careers, and in life. Serving over 3 million youth at more than 5,000 locations across the country, Clubs offer a range of resources and experiences – from homework help, STEM learning opportunities, mentorship, and leadership training, to mental health resources, health & wellness education, workforce readiness programs, and more.

“At Boys & Girls Clubs of America, we recognize that today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders. It’s critical that we equip our young people for life after high school,” said Jim Clark, president & CEO, Boys & Girls Clubs of America. “Youth Right Now is our opportunity as parents, caregivers, teachers, mentors, and advocates to hear directly from youth about the issues that matter to them most. While some of our survey findings echo the concerns we’re feeling as a nation, one thing fills me with hope – today’s young people remain optimistic and determined to achieve a great future, not just for themselves, but for the greater good.”

Additional highlights from the 2023 Youth Right Now survey include:

  • Young people are socially conscious and care deeply about social justice issues.
    • 86% of youth feel they can stand up for what they think is right even if their friends disagree.
    • 81% of youth feel they can make a difference in their community.
    • Across all racial backgrounds, racial justice rises to the top as a key issue teens care about, with more than half (53%) reporting it as the number one issue they care about.*
  • Young people are making positive decisions to support their futures.
    • Academics are a priority – 83% of youth report making grades of either mostly A’s or mostly B’s in the last school year.
    • Youth are taking care of their physical health – they’re eating well (70% say they eat at least three fruits and vegetables per day), getting physical activity (53% report getting more than 60 minutes of physical activity at least five days a week), and teens are largely abstaining from risky behaviors such as smoking and drug and alcohol use.
  • Today’s youth are compassionate and empathetic, and that’s especially true of Gen Z teens.
    • 83% of teens report they’ve done something to help people in their community.
    • 85% of youth think of how other people will be affected when making a decision.
    • 89% of youth say when they are the leader of a group, they make sure everyone feels important.
    • 94% of youth say they can work with people who are different than them.

To discover more survey insights and download the full survey, visit www.bgca.org/youthrightnow.

About Boys & Girls Clubs of America

For 160 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA.org) has provided a safe place for kids and teens to learn and grow. Clubs offer caring adult mentors, fun and friendship, and high-impact youth development programs on a daily basis during critical non-school hours. Boys & Girls Clubs programming promotes academic success, good character and citizenship, and healthy lifestyles. More than 5,200 Clubs serve 3.3 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Clubs are located in cities, towns, public housing and on Native lands throughout the country, and serve military families in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. National headquarters is located in Atlanta. Learn more about Boys & Girls Clubs of America on Facebook and Twitter.

About Youth Right Now

Since 2012, Boys & Girls Clubs of America has surveyed its youth members nationwide, including kids across different ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and communities, who share one thing in common — they participate in a Boys & Girls Club. Youth Right Now features survey findings from more than 130,000 kids and teens ages 9 to 18 on how they are feeling about their academics, relationships, emotional well-being, readiness for life after high school and more. This data supports more than 5,200 Boys & Girls Clubs across the United States in improving services to youth. To Boys & Girls Clubs of America’s knowledge, Youth Right Now is the nation’s largest private data set on kids and teens.

*A small selection of data included on the Youth Right Now landing page are responses from the 2022 Boys & Girls Clubs of America Teen Survey.

Contacts

Andrea Holliday, Boys & Girls Clubs of America,

aholliday@bgca.org

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