Study on how young Europeans perceive their future

Young adults in Europe have great concerns about the future. Eight out of ten question whether their generation should have children. Although many believe their country will do more to address the climate crisis in the future, they assume society will become less fair, less safe and more divided as a whole. Only a small proportion are engaging in initiatives and associations or protesting in the streets so far – though up to 50 percent want to raise their voices and take civic action.

These are some of the main findings of the first Allianz Foundation “Civic Engagement Study” entitled “The Movers of Tomorrow?”.

The study is based on a representative survey that the Allianz Foundation conducted, together with the SINUS Institute, among 10,000 young adults aged 18 to 39 in Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom.

The results show: Young Europeans find today’s structures of political participation outdated and do not feel addressed by them. Conventional offers such as party membership are only attractive to very few of them. They want to provide direct input and desire flexible and personal forms of engagement. This is a huge task for politics, civil society and philanthropy: to rebuild trust and create pathways into getting engaged.

Sinus Institute writes that the study, entitled “The Movers of Tomorrow? How Young Adults in Europe Imagine and Shape the Future” (pdf) was conducted in two phases. First, to ensure that the research addresses the real concerns of real people, young adults in the five countries were directly involved in focus group discussions. Documenting their future outlook and their experiences of civic engagement paved the way for the second phase: A representative survey, which was administered between September and November of 2022. The survey questionnaire was designed using young adults’ true-to-life input from the focus groups, along with state-of the-art research in the domains of civic engagement, social psychology and youth studies.

To learn more about what exactly is needed to unleash the civic potential of young adults, the Allianz Foundation invited 78 leading voices from civil society, the arts and journalism to seven interactive Future Labs in seven European cities — Athens, Berlin, Istanbul, London, Palermo, Warsaw and Prizren in Kosovo. Valuable lessons emerged from them, including the need to craft more compelling change narratives, address burnout, create and defend safe spaces and foster dialogue among young adults, civil society and its public and private funders, which have been synthesized in Future Labs Report 2023 (pdf), a workshop report with recommendations for action for civil society and its supporters.

> Excellent analysis of the Italian results in article by Sofia Li Crasti in La Stampa newspaper.