Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Young People: Evidence from Young Lives India

Resilience and well-being
Livelihoods and economic shocks

Vulnerabilities and Resilience of Young People: Evidence from Young Lives India

17 November 2022, New Delhi – Young Lives India disseminated key findings from the five rounds of telephone survey and mixed method qualitative survey conducted in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana during the pandemic.  The dissemination event held in New Delhi provided a summary of the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on livelihood, education, employment, mental health as well as health seeking behaviour including COVID-19 vaccination and testing 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.

Ms. Sally Taylor, Minister Counsellor Develop and Technology, British High Commission, while addressing the participants with her key note address said that “the UK is happy to have supported Young Lives over the last 20 years.  This unique longitudinal study is producing and disseminating high-quality evidence, helping to improve the understanding of the lives of the marginalized young people in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and how the COVID pandemic has affected them."

Dr. Renu Singh, Executive Director Young Lives India, while sharing the key findings said that “the evidence shared today drawing upon the five telephone surveys as well as the disability study conducted during the pandemic builds upon the strength of the Young Lives longitudinal study started in 2002. Studies such as Young Lives provides an opportunity to reach and gather evidence related to the most disadvantaged sample of our population in a crisis situation such as the pandemic, in a timely manner ”.

Some of the important findings from five rounds of telephonic surveys are given below:

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:  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 quality of education to have dipped during the pandemic compared to quality of education perceived pre-pandemic.

Loss of Livelihood and Coping Strategies: During the first wave of pandemic, 40% 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 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.

Dr. Sudhanshu Bhushan, Professor and Head of the Department of Higher & Professional Education in the National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA)said that “the results of the longitudinal study of Young Lives shall be a new milestone to influence policies.”

About Young Lives

Young Lives is an international study of childhood poverty, following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India (in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana), Peru and Vietnam since 2002.  These children, across two cohorts, the Younger Cohort born in 2001-02 and the Older Cohort born in 1994-95, are now aged 18/19 and 25 years respectively.  

In India we follow the lives of 3,000 children in two States, produce research and generate evidence to help policymakers design programmes that make a real difference to children and their families.

Our innovative approach to poverty research is enabling us to collect a wealth of information not only about children's material and social circumstances, but also their perspectives on their lives and aspirations for their futures, set against the social and environmental realities of their communities. 

Young Lives has evolved to shed light both on the drivers and impacts of child poverty, and the determinants of a successful transition into young adulthood with particular emphasis on the labour market and education. The study aim is to generate evidence to help policymakers design programmes that make a real difference to poor children, youth and their families.




Further information


For more information, or to speak with the researchers, contact:


Ms. Sultanat Khan, Senior Coordinator – Communication & Events, Young Lives India

Mobile: +918510807860; Email:


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