Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Young People: Evidence from Young Lives India
17th November 2022
by Renu Singh and Protap Mukherjee
Young Lives Five Telephonic Surveys summarise the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on health seeking behaviour, COVID-19 tests and vaccinations, loss of livelihood, education, employment and mental health of young people in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The first telephonic survey was undertaken during first lockdown (Jun-July 2020) and the last telephonic survey was conducted during Oct-Dec, 2021 with a total sample of 2,719 young people. Some of the important findings from five rounds of telephonic surveys are given below:
What was the Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic? Findings From Five Rounds of Telephone Survey
Covid-10 related behaviour: While washing hands more often than before was reported by almost every respondent (96%), however only 2.4% of the YL sample were found to be ‘working from home’ in July 2020 which further reduced to 1.5% by Nov 2020.
One young person pointed out that:
“Corona virus is like any other virus … we have to be careful about it. We have to wear masks and use sanitizers.”
Covid-19 Tests and Vaccinations: Access to COVID-19 tests was reported by almost every respondent (99%) and 8% of them undertook testing suspecting COVID infection with more than half testing positive (59%).
By Oct-Dec 2021, more than three out of every five young person (65%) were vaccinated (at least one dose). Among those who were not vaccinated, the major reason reported was ‘worrying about side-effects’.
Education: The Enrolment rate reduced from 69% in Dec 2019 (pre-covid) to 55% in Oct-Dec 2021 with significantly higher rate of dropping out amongst girls. Half of the respondents perceived the quality of education to have dipped during the pandemic compared to the quality of education perceived pre-pandemic time.
Loss of Livelihood and Coping Strategies: During the first wave of the pandemic, 40% of households reported ‘loss of livelihood’. To cope up with livelihood loss, 63% of the respondents relied on savings, followed by receiving assistance from friends/families (23%). It is important to note that in June-July 2020, 15% of the respondents commented that their households ran out of food during the pandemic. The good news is that this percentage reduced to 1% by Oct-Dec 2021. According to one of the family members:
‘we didn’t have money to spend and eat. We took loans…. we have taken money on interest.’…. we had to struggle for daily food …we are accustomed to working in daily wage work…. due to that we had to consume food only once in a day.’
Nearly 35% of the 26-27 years old lost their livelihood during the lockdown in 2020 and by Aug-Oct 2020, 26-years old women were 65% less likely to be in regular salaried jobs compared to men of the same age.
Mental Health: During Aug-Oct 2020, 15% and 12% of the respondents aged 26 were found to demonstrating symptoms of anxiety and depression respectively which remained almost the same (13% anxiety and 12% depression) by Oct-Dec 2021.
Call to Action
- Enhance inter-sectoral convergence of schemes using a life-course approach in order to provide seamless services for the most disadvantaged populations.
- Improve supply chain management, transport infrastructure and climate change need to be addressed urgently through new techniques and technology for ensuring ‘Zero Hunger’.
- Support Female labour force participation by providing care services to women and build agency to take decisions related to marriage, fertility, career etc.
- Address the Digital Divide and provide mental health support. By ensuring services and digital access and mental health services are provided to the most disadvantaged families.
- Increase spending on research to find out ‘what works’ and develop evidence-based policies.