Youth Barometer 2016: A Look to the Future
The Youth Barometer is an annual publication that studies the values and attitudes of young people aged 15–29 years who live in Finland. The Youth Barometer has been carried out every year since 1994. Since 2004 the Youth Barometer has been published in cooperation by the State Youth Council and the Finnish Youth Research Network. The 2016 Youth Barometer is based on 1,901 telephone interviews. Some of the questions asked in the Youth Barometer are the same each year, which makes it possible to monitor changes and to observe actual trends over time. In addition to the permanent themes of work and education, other themes monitored over many years include influence on society, living, future and social life, and satisfaction with life and its various areas. There is also a theme that changes each year, which is used to explore topical themes that concern young people and youth, as comprehensive information is needed on these to support decision-making on social matters.
The theme of the 2016 Youth Barometer is the future. The future was examined from a personal and a global perspective. According to the Youth Barometer, 83 per cent of young people are optimistic about their future, but only 55 per cent believe Finland has a bright future and 25 per cent believe the world has a bright future. Faith in one’s own future is strengthening, but faith in the world’s future and in Finland’s future as a homeland has clearly weakened. Young people’s faith in the improvement in the economic situation of their own age group has also weakened rapidly. Over several generations there has been a development in Finland where each new generation is more affluent than the previous, but only about one in ten young people believe that their own and the next generation’s economic situation will improve. The Youth Barometer found that young people are strongly in favour of the Finnish welfare state, but they are doubtful as to whether it will still exist in the future. The young people would also like to see an improvement in equality and the state of the environment in the coming years, but they are not entirely convinced this will happen. In fact, the rapid increase in cynicism and mistrust among young people is one of the most important observations in the study. The decline in faith has been especially pronounced among boys.
As a whole, the attitude to immigrants is increasingly positive and multiculturalism is considered ever more normal. More and more young people have friends with immigrant backgrounds and fewer consider the skin colour of their friends or being born in Finland to be important factors. However, fewer would like more foreigners than there are now to come to Finland.
Even fewer young people want to own their own home, or have a car, their own family and children or a permanent job in the future. There were also fears associated with working life – young people were concerned about the number of jobs and the increasing demands of working life. However, hopes for the future were largely the same as before: good personal relationships and a job still came at the top of the list.