New Global Youth Development Index Report reveals improved state of young people

26 April 2024
Press release
Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC

The Commonwealth Secretariat and the Institute for Economics and Peace today launched the 2023 Global Youth Development Index Report.

Spanning 183 countries, the report launched to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth, unveils encouraging progress and critical priorities for enhancing youth well-being and empowerment worldwide.

The report's findings highlight notable advancements within Commonwealth countries, with Singapore maintaining its leading position as the top-ranked nation globally, closely followed by Malta, Cyprus, New Zealand, and Brunei.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Commonwealth Secretary-General Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC said:

"The YDI empowers stakeholders to address complex, multidimensional issues affecting youth. We must use this opportunity to pause and take stock; to listen to what the numbers are telling us and consider the right course to take.  We must be confident in our ability to progress, but honest about the distance we must travel, and fierce in our determination to support those who need our help.

"The best way to raise up our young people is to empower them, to let their passion and creativity guide our work with fresh ideas, impetus, and inspiration."

Tracking progress on youth development in the Commonwealth is critical, especially considering that over 60% of its population, totalling more than 2.5 billion people, is under the age of 30.

Key highlights from the report shed light on the impressive strides made by Commonwealth nations:

Youth Civic and Political Participation: Commonwealth countries exhibit higher scores in youth civic and political engagement compared to the global average.

Continuous Improvement: 94% of the 50 Commonwealth nations analysed demonstrated improvement in their YDI scores over the past 12 years, signalling positive trends in youth development outcomes.

Employment and Opportunity Progress: The Employment and Opportunity domain showed the most significant improvement, driven by a 52% increase in youth financial inclusion metrics.

Global Rankings: The top 10 YDI scores globally were led by Singapore, followed by, Denmark, Portugal, Iceland, Slovenia, Norway, Ireland, Spain, Malta and Switzerland.

Over the past fifty years, the Secretariat has been investing in youth policy development through initiatives like the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP).

Regionals Rankings for Commonwealth Countries (in order)

Top 5 in Commonwealth Africa

  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Ghana
  • Gabon
  • Gambia

Top 5 in Commonwealth Asia

  • Singapore (also top country in the world)
  • Brunei
  • Malaysia
  • Sri Lanka
  • Maldives

Top 5 in Commonwealth Caribbean and Americas

  • Canada
  • Barbados
  • Grenada
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Jamaica

Top 3 in Commonwealth Europe

  • Malta
  • Cyprus
  • United Kingdom

50 years of youth development 

To mark the 75th anniversary of the modern Commonwealth and the 50th anniversary of the Commonwealth Youth Programme (CYP), the YDI serves as a benchmark for member countries to monitor progress towards meeting the recent Marlborough House Commitment for Youth Development and the SDGs.

Commonwealth Secretary-General with youth leaders at the launch of the YDI
Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, with Commonwealth youth leaders at the launch of the 2023 Global Youth Development Index Report.

Over the past 12 years (2010–2022), the global YDI score increased by 2.8%. Notably, Sub-Saharan Africa experienced the most significant improvement, with a rise of 3.81%. Other regions showing notable progress included South America, South Asia, Asia-Pacific, Russia, and Eurasia.

While the Employment and Opportunity domain saw the most substantial improvement globally, increasing by 6.1% from 2010 to 2022. The Peace and Security domain showed the smallest improvement, with a global score increase of just 0.22%.

Amidst complex global challenges such as the impact COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and regional conflicts, the YDI serves as a crucial tool for policymakers, researchers, youth workers, and advocates. It enables monitoring of progress, supports advocacy for change and encourages evidence-based policymaking. Beyond assessment, the YDI helps track the impacts of ongoing crises, emphasising the need for adaptable methodologies to drive meaningful progress and build inclusive societies.

For further insights into the 2023 Global Youth Development Index Report and its implications for youth empowerment and policy advocacy, view the full report.

2023 Global Youth Development Index Report

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

  • E-mail