This policy study analyses the political attitudes and participation of young people in Spain, focusing on those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Key findings include the discrepancy between youth interest in politics and their participation in democratic processes, the strong support for democratic values despite criticism of the current system, and the socio-economic barriers to active political participation.
The study identifies several factors contributing to this divide, such as limited economic resources for young people and those services and organisations supporting and representing them, the social stigma associated with political affiliation, changing socialisation patterns that do not favour traditional political participation, language barriers in political and administrative communication, and mistrust of the media.
The report findings were generated as part of a detailed review of existing research on young people’s attitudes towards politics and democracy, an analysis of focus group discussions conducted in different Spanish municipalities, and findings from interviews with young political leaders, experts on youth inequality and members of parliament.
To address the identified issues, the study proposes a change in policy approach that incorporates the youth perspective into all government policies and actions. It recommends the introduction of a youth law in Spain, including youth impact assessments in government budgets and greater support for youth organisations. Other recommendations include administrative reforms to simplify bureaucratic processes, economic policy measures to address housing and labour market challenges, and strategies for political parties and civil society organisations to improve youth engagement.
Overall, the study concludes that despite the crisis of confidence in politics, Spanish youth desire greater democratic participation, suggesting that appropriate government measures could significantly improve their political engagement.
In its current work, the series looks at young Europeans’ engagement with democracy – through the lens of socio-economic disadvantage in Ireland, Hungary, France, Poland and Spain. A study combining findings from all these countries, including over 100 young people interviewed and 50 expert interviewees, was published on 23 January 2024. Find it here.
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