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Youth and Satisfaction with Democracy

Globally, millennials are most dissatisfied with democracy, and more so than previous generations at the same stage of life.

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A report from the Centre for the Future of Democracy shows that young people’s faith in democratic politics is lower than any other age group and millennials across the world are more disillusioned with democracy than Generation X or baby boomers were at the same age.

Further,  young people are most positive about democracy under populist leaders of both left and right, and millennials in advanced democracies are more likely to view political opponents as morally flawed.

The findings come from the largest-ever global dataset of democratic legitimacy. Cambridge researchers collaborated with the HUMAN Surveys Project to combine data from close to five million respondents in over 160 countries between 1973 and 2020 who were asked about their degree of satisfaction with democracy in their country.

“This is the first generation in living memory to have a global majority who are dissatisfied with the way democracy works while in their twenties and thirties”

Dr Roberto Foa, lead author of the report, University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies.

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  • About the author

    Dr Roberto Foa, University of Cambridge, Department of Politics and International Studies, University Lecturer in Politics and Public Policy

    Roberto Stefan Foa is a University Lecturer in politics and public policy at POLIS. He obtained his BA from the University of Oxford and PhD from Harvard University. He is currently a Principal Investigator for the seventh round of the World Values Survey in Indonesia ...   Learn more