Indonesian youth looking towards the future

Pam Nilan*, Lynette Parker, Linda Bennett, Kathryn Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Selected survey data on future aspirations and expectations from 3565 young Indonesians are presented in this study. Muslim-majority Indonesia is an Asian economic success story. The economy has seen solid growth, leading to an expansion of the private sector. The upward credentialling of the labour market and the rapid growth of the middle class have resulted. Accordingly, the transition to adulthood for working-class and lower middle-class youth has been extended by the necessity to complete schooling and tertiary training before work can be obtained and marriage can occur. Marriage and children still signify adulthood for both sexes. Career preference favoured the professions, especially for girls, despite tight competition for university places. While indicating upwardly mobile aspirations to middle-class life, respondents also demonstrated strong commitment to religious faith and normative family formation in the future. High expectations were tempered by realism though. When asked about obstacles to life dreams, most named material challenges such as family finances. Respondents from more privileged backgrounds were more likely to think non-material factors such as their own laziness would constitute an obstacle, while those lower on the socio-economic scale often indicated they did not have much chance of realising their life dreams due to material and structural constraints.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)709-728
    Number of pages20
    JournalJournal of Youth Studies
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2011


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