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Data on youth participation

IPU research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data and generated a series of recommendations to enhance youth participation. Here are some of the main findings presented in the IPU’s 2021 report on Youth Participation in National Parliaments.

Key findings    
  • Young people under 30 make up just over 2.6 per cent of the world’s MPs.
  • Around 25 per cent of the world’s single and lower houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.    
  • Seventy-three per cent of the world’s upper houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.

Trends for different age groups    

  • 2.6 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 30 – up from 2.2 per cent in 2018.    
  • 17.5 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 40 – up from 15.5 per cent in 2018.    
  • 30.2 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 45 – up from 28.1per cent in 2018.    
  • Male MPs outnumber their female counterparts in every age group.

Encouraging signs    

  • The gender imbalance is less pronounced among younger MPs, where the male/female ratio is 60:40.    
  • The share of young parliamentarians has continued to increase across all age categories.    
  • Youth quotas, lower eligibility ages, proportional representation and inclusive parliaments are all factors that increase the number of young MPs.
Best performers    
  • Over 10 per cent of members are aged under 30 in Norway, Armenia, San Marino, Gambia (the) and Belgium (Senate).
  • Armenia, Ukraine and Italy have the highest proportion of MPs aged under 40 in lower or single houses of parliament.    
  • Belgium, Burundi and Jamaica have the highest proportion of MPs aged under 40 in upper houses of parliament.    
  • Over 60 per cent of MPs in the single and lower chambers of Armenia, Ukraine, and Turkmenistan are aged under 45.    
  • More than 40 per cent of MPs in the upper houses of the parliament of Belgium, Afghanistan, and Burundi are aged under 45.
Youth and policy-making in parliaments    
  • Networks of young MPs, as well as caucuses that promote youth issues in public policy, are present in a small but growing number of parliaments.    
  • Parliamentary committees dealing with youth issues exist in more than 60 per cent of countries, with most taking the form of standing committees.

Other strategies to engage young people in parliaments    

  • Youth parliaments exist in 56 per cent of countries surveyed. Some have formal ties to the national parliament, but most are coordinated by non-governmental organizations, government ministries, schools, or other local authorities.    
  • New technologies and online tools are helping citizens, including young people, to understand and monitor the work of parliaments. They are also boosting accessibility and transparency.