The Multicultural Youth Australia (MYAN) Census Status Report 2017-18 was produced through a collaboration between the University of Melbourne, MYAN NSW and a range of government and community organisations from around Australia.
The national study is the first of its kind and presents rich insights into how multicultural young people are faring socially, economically and culturally.
Almost 2,000 young people aged 15 to 25 years from refugee and migrant backgrounds participated in the research and shared their experiences, challenges and aspirations for the future.
The findings show a sense of belonging, hope and participation on the one hand, but discrimination, feelings of unsafety, and barriers to employment on the other.
Report’s Key findings:
Multicultural young people are incredibly diverse and express their identities and attachments in a myriad of different ways. While labels like ‘multicultural’, ‘migrant’, ‘refugee’ or ‘CALD’ can be useful in institutional settings, there is some resistance towards them. These terms do not come from young people themselves, and risk simplifying young people’s experiences.
Multicultural young people articulate high levels of belonging to Australia, and to other local, institutional and social spaces. However, this desire to belong, participate and contribute to a range of spheres is not always recognised or reciprocated.
Multicultural young people are highly optimistic about the future. However, this optimism declines with age and time spent in Australia.
Racism is a key area of concern. Large proportions of multicultural young people are experiencing discrimination, particularly on the basis of race. Racism is both experienced and witnessed in public spaces, shopping centres, schools, workplaces, and when applying for jobs. Racism is experienced differently by different cohorts of multicultural youth, depending on skin colour and other visible markers of race, ethnicity and religion.
Multicultural youth have strong but complex connections to their families. Most multicultural youth are close to their families and see them as an important source of support. However, these family relationships come with responsibilities and obligations that can create tensions, and are sometimes experienced as barriers to participation in other spheres of life.
Multicultural young people are highly engaged across a range of cultural, civic and social activities. Despite facing barriers and forms of exclusion, multicultural youth are participating in cultural and economic life in ways that strengthen their social networks, affirm their civic attachments, and enrich their intercultural capacities.
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