UNICEF Poll: African youth report reconsidering having children due to climate change at higher rate than youth from other regions

Globally, 2 in 5 young people said the impacts of climate change have made them rethink their plan to start a family, according to agency’s latest U-Report findings.

Almost half of young people in Africa said they have reconsidered having children due to climate issues, according to results from a UNICEF U-Report poll of 243,512 worldwide respondents.

Globally, 2 in 5 young people said the impacts of climate change have made them reconsider their desire to initiate a family. This concern was highest in African regions, with the greatest percentage of young people reporting that they are reconsidering having children found in the Middle East & North Africa (44 per cent) and Sub-Saharan Africa (43 per cent).

Youth in both regions reported having experienced a range of climate shocks and, more than other young people worldwide, said these shocks had impacted their access to food and water, as well as their family’s money.

“The impacts of climate change are with us now, but they are far more than floods, droughts and heatwaves," said Paloma Escudero, head of UNICEF’s COP27 delegation. "They extend to our very sense of dream. Especially in Africa, young people are seeing the impact these shocks are having on themselves and those they will and it is changing their plans for the future. But it doesn’t have to. At COP27, world leaders must listen to this anxiety from young people and take immediate action to protect them.”

Last year, a survey published by The Lancet found 39 per cent of the 10,000 global respondents were hesitant to have children – a similar rate as UNICEF’s U-Report poll. While UNICEF’s methodology uses a non-representative sample, the U-Report platform, with its extensive network of young people in Africa, is believed to be the first to demonstrate this attitude’s prevalence in Africa.

Other findings include: Globally, over half of U-Reporters that responded to the poll say they have experienced either drought or extreme heat. 1 in 4 say they have experienced air pollution. 1 in 4 have experienced flooding. 1 in 6 have experienced frequent severe storms or cyclones. And 1 in 10 have experienced wildfires.

UNICEF Climate Change

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