Data on youth participation

Data on youth participation

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IPU’s research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data. Image: ©IPU.

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 2016 report on Youth Participation in National Parliaments.

Key findings
  • Young people under 30 make up less than 2 per cent of the world’s MPs.
  • About 30 per cent of the world’s single and lower houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.
  • More than 80 per cent of the world’s upper houses of parliament have no MPs aged under 30.
  • Not a single upper house of parliament anywhere in the world has more than 10 per cent of its members aged under 30.
Trends for different age groups
  • 1.9 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 30 – up from 1.6 per cent in 2014.
  • 14.2 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 40 – up from 12.9 per cent in 2014.
  • 26 per cent of the world’s MPs are aged under 45 – up from 23.9 per cent in 2014.
  • 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.
  • Recent elections have seen a global trend towards more young MPs aged under 45.
  • Youth quotas, lower eligibility ages, proportional representation and inclusive parliaments are all factors that increase the number of young MPs.
Best performers
  • Ecuador, Finland, Norway and Sweden are the only parliaments in the world where more than 10 per cent of members are aged under 30.
  • Andorra, Denmark and Ecuador have the highest proportion of MPs aged under 40 in lower or single houses of parliament.
  • Belgium, Bhutan and Kenya have the highest proportion of MPs aged under 40 in upper houses of parliament.
  • More than 60 per cent of MPs in the unicameral parliament of Andorra and in the lower houses of parliament of Ethiopia and Oman are aged under 45.
  • More than 80 per cent of MPs in the upper house of the parliament of Bhutan 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 the vast majority of countries, but most share their remit with other subjects such as sports, education, the family or vulnerable groups.
  • Parliamentarians under the age of 45 chair less than 25 per cent of those committees, and form a majority in less than one third.
Other strategies to engage young people in parliaments
  • Youth parliaments exist in half 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.

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IPU’s research on youth participation in parliaments has produced a wealth of data. Image: ©IPU.