4 in 10 young people interested in politics

Health and welfare | 15-04-2019 13:04

Young people aged 15 to 17 years in the Netherlands say they have little interest in politics. Once they are entitled to vote when they turn 18, they do start to find politics more interesting. At the same time, young people place a great deal of faith in politicians, more so than the older generations. This is evident from new figures on political engagement from a large-scale survey on social cohesion and well-being conducted by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

The survey ‘Social cohesion and well-being’ was conducted over the period 2012-2018 among nearly 54 thousand persons in the Netherlands aged 15 years and up. It includes questions on engagement in political issues and levels of trust in Parliament and in the European Union.
Among 15 to 24-year-olds, a share of 40 percent indicate they are fairly to highly interested in politics. The interest is lowest among 15 to 17-year-olds (32 percent). In the age categories 18 to 21 years and 22 to 24 years, it is more than 40 percent. Political interest is even higher among the older age groups (over the age of 25).

In all age groups, women are less interested in politics than men. Among young men (15 to 24 years), 44 percent are interested, against 35 percent of young women.

High level of trust in Parliament

Young people have more faith in Parliament and in the European Union than older people. Two-thirds of the 15 to 17-year-olds place a fairly high to high level of trust in Parliament, while almost 80 percent say they have faith in the European Union.

These levels drop sharply beyond age 18. Among 18 to 21-year-olds, confidence in Parliament already declines by 13 percentage points, dropping further by 10 percentage points among 22 to 24-year-olds. The lowest level of trust is shown by 65 to 74-year-olds, with fewer than one in three showing confidence in politicians.