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Data on youth participation

IPU’s research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data and has generated a series of recommendations to enhance youth participation. Here are some of the main findings presented in the IPU’s 2018 report on Youth Participation in National Parliaments.

Key findings    
  • Young people under 30 make up just over 2 per cent of the world’s MPs.
  • Just over 30 per cent of the world’s single and lower houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.    
  • Seventy-six per cent of the world’s upper houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.

Trends for different age groups    

  • 2.2 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 30 – up from 1.9 per cent in 2016.    
  • 15.5 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 40 – up from 14.2 per cent in 2016.    
  • 28.1 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 45 – up from 26 per cent in 2016.    
  • 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, Sweden and Finland. In San Marino, the Republic of the Gambia, Montenegro and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), 10 per cent of MPs are under 30.    
  • Denmark, Ukraine and Andorra have the highest proportion of MPs aged under 40 in lower or single houses of parliament.    
  • Bhutan, Kenya and Somalia 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 Ukraine, Ethiopia and Andorra are aged under 45.    
  • More than 80 per cent of MPs in the upper house of the parliament of Bhutan and 40 per cent in Kenya and Afghanistan 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 40 per cent of the countries, with most taking the form of standing committees.

Other strategies to engage young people in parliaments    

  • Youth parliaments exist in 72 per cent of the 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, and are also boosting accessibility and transparency.

Infographic of youth in parliaments