Youth Life and Social Changes in Developed Countries

Table of Contents


Social change refers to the transformation in social structure and social order in society Giddens (2006 pp 43).In his study, France (2007, pp 8) found out that the pre-modern society was characterized by strong social classes and social order. It was also characterized by strong differentiation in gender. Young adults became independent at an early stage in life where they would leave their families after college.

Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp 3) mentioned that life has changed in the modern world. Developed countries are transforming into post- modernism. Traditional ways of life are changing to adopt post-modernism. Social change has been experienced in various spheres of social life. The social structures and social order have changed to make the world today unpredictable. Consequently the young people’s social life is full of risks associated with modernism. Young people irrespective of their social status have to accept social change in order to be successful in life.

The social life change has caused changes in the social, political, economic and cultural world. This essay will analyze social changes that affect young people in developed countries.

Analysis of the social change

The modern society is characterized by opportunities and risks as indicated by Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp 4). These characteristics are distributed unevenly just as the social class inequalities manifest.

Moreover social classes are fainting making life unpredictable for the young people. This is because members of the same social class can choose different standards of living. Consequently life opportunities cannot be measured using social class. Thus for instance one could fail to get employed because of lack of education and not because of their social class.

The education system has changed. The youth are required to be responsible. The efforts they put in school will determine the success of their economic life. Since jobs are awarded on the basis of qualifications, candidates must perform well and continue training in order to sustain themselves. In addition, students are expected to pay for their own training. Besides change in the education system, Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp 28) argue that inequalities that come about due to class differences, still exist.

Those from well to do families have greater advantage of going to the best schools; however they must perform and continue training. Furthermore, Gale and Fahey (2005, pp206) observed that there are many women joining colleges and universities unlike before. For that reason, more women are going to participate in the post- modern world economy.

The labor market has been restructured as Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp 34) uncovered. The industries are employing fewer people. They employ some on permanent basis and others on part time basis. Young people are held responsible for their work and are supposed to assess their own progress. Opportunities to develop in career are also rare for them. Additionally, the numbers of unemployed qualified youths are continually growing. Most often policy makers have engaged in discussions that assess unemployment among the youth.

A large number of young people continue to depend on their families long after completion of their training. The transition from training to a stable career takes longer than the traditional time. Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp 53) observe that often young people are financially dependent and require support. However many young adults take time to make decision.

Youth living in developed countries have changed their culture in leisure. Their leisure is affected by the nature of training and dependency on guardians. Social class and gender seem to have little influence on their leisure. The post-modern world has a great range of leisure activities designed for all irrespective of class and gender.

Likewise, it is evident that young people marry when they are much older than before hence they have a lot of free time to engage in leisure activities (McCauley & McKinney, 2011). The youth are in control of their own leisure activities as well as their limitation as they come about with the leisure activities.

Gale and Fahey (2005, pp119) said that the youths face a number of health risks in the post-modern world. Furlong and Carmel (2007, pp85) concurred stating that there are many cases reported about youths suffering from stress, others committing suicide and others suffering from poor eating habits. Other health risks include: dangerous driving, alcohol consumption, abuse of drugs smoking and irresponsible sexual behavior.

Giddens (2006 pp 79) claimed that the youth in the modern world have been seen as a dominant participant in criminal activities both as the executor and as the victim. However the focus has changed from physical crime to media crime. Sanctions should be enforced to control criminal behavior.

A criminal record of an individual will perhaps cause the individual to withdraw from such activities so that he can be able to get employment. Today, deprivation has led to criminal careers. Young adults from a high social class who fail to secure a job that would maintain their life style get involved in crime.

According to Youth Empowerment Summit (2002), Youth participation in politics has been seen as weak. In most cases the youth are largely influenced by their families on political issues during family discussions. Moreover, a weak link between youth’s social class affiliations has been established. Party politics has strengthened the fading social classes and used the youths to gather votes.

The United Nations world report (2010, pp 120) revealed that the youths ought to be aware of their environment and collectively engaging in initiatives that are likely to bring political progress in their society. Gender sensitivity and gender equality has increased. Both men and women are considered equal hence they are given equal opportunities.


It is evident that the social, economic, cultural and political changes of life has affected the youth in developed countries. Social classes are fading away and social structures restructuring. Therefore a new culture of post-modern world where the youths must work hard has emerged. Consequently the youths have shown capability to respond to the transformation.

Reference List

France, A., 2007. Understanding Youth in Late Modernity. New York: Two Penn Plaza.

Furlong, A. & Cartmel, F., 2007. Young People and Social Change: New perspective. England: Open University Press.

Gale, F. & Fahey, S., 2005. Youth in transition: The Challenge of Generational change in Asia. Bangkok: Regional Unit for Social and Human Sciences in Asia and the Pacific.

Giddens, A., 2006. Sociology. United Kingdom: Polity Press Cambridge.

McCauley, C. & McKinney, C., 2011. Inspiring a Generation of Youth to Change the World. New York: Two Penn Plaza.

United Nations., 2010. World Youth Report: Youth and climate Change. New York: United Nations.

Youth Empowerment Summit., 2002. Youth Unemployment: the current Scenario. US: Prepared by the Youth Employment Summit Secretariat – May 2002

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