What makes young people tick

What is important to young people in Germany? What do they think about work, family and politics? A profile of youth in Germany.

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dpa

Germany. Where are the rebels? Protests and provocations are not ‘in’ at present. The young generation in Germany is pragmatic, believes in ‘safety first’, seeks security among family and friends, treasures such values as tolerance, freedom and diversity. They show a growing interest in politics and would like to make a contribution to society. This trend has been revealed in all major youth studies over the last two years.

The young generation are awakening. They are demanding and ambitious, want to make a contribution and open up new horizons.

Professor Dr. Mathias Albert, co-author of the 17th Shell Youth Study.

Values

The authors of the extensive Shell Youth Study 2015 found that material values such as success and a high standard of living are declining in significance. Tolerance, freedom and sustainability are more important. ”Recognizing and respecting the diversity of people“ – this is what counts for the majority of young Germans. This also applies to religious tolerance, an attitude shared by young people both with or without a migration background. The key values are:
 

  • friendship, partnership and family,
  • respect for law and order,
  • environmental protection and sustainable consumption.

Values

The authors of the extensive Shell Youth Study 2015 found that material values such as success and a high standard of living are declining in significance. Tolerance, freedom and sustainability are more important. ”Recognizing and respecting the diversity of people“ – this is what counts for the majority of young Germans. This also applies to religious tolerance, an attitude shared by young people both with or without a migration background. The key values are:
 

  • friendship, partnership and family,
  • respect for law and order,
  • environmental protection and sustainable consumption.
     

Education and work

This generation makes higher demands on employers than previous ones. They believe an ideal job should offer interesting tasks and an opportunity to bring in your own ideas. Above all, it should allow you enough time to look after your children. This is more important for young people today than a career. What they ask of their occupation:
 

  • job security (95%),
  • a good work-life balance (90%),
  • flexible working hours to meet their own needs (80%),
  • part-time working for parents (75%).
     

Politics

Young people can vote in elections to the Bundestag from the age of 18, and already at 16 in municipal and state elections in some states. But according to a political youth study conducted by ‘Bravo’ magazine in 2017, younger girls and boys are also interested in politics, although more than half complain that politicians don’t represent young people’s interests sufficiently.
 

  • 33% of 14- to 17-year-olds are very interested in politics
  • 68% regard democracy as the best form of government
  • Angela Merkel is the most popular politician
  • 26% express their opinion via (online) petitions
     

Migration

The majority of young Germans are in favour of taking in refugees and society showing more commitment to integration. There are differences, however: young people from the east of the country are more sceptical about immigration.

Media

The internet generation is well connected. The most popular messaging services are WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook.
 

  • 99% of 12- to 19-year-olds have access to the internet
  • 97% have a smartphone
  • 74% have their own laptop or PC
  • 95% of young people communicate via WhatsApp
     

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