Young people are getting more political

Forget social media…it’s social issues you lot are most concerned about. 

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2017 saw a sudden surge of young voters heading to the voting stations

According to findings from Opinium, the 2016 EU referendum saw 64% of young people aged 18-24 turn out to vote, which was the highest percentage since the 1992 general election.

According to CAF research, millennials are more inclined to volunteer and have grown more socially and politically conscious since 2016. This research suggests that the Brexit vote has driven this increase in awareness.

The research, which included a YouGov poll of 1,002 people, showed that: 

  • 30% of people are more active in a social or political cause since the beginning of 2016 with a 37% rise among the 16-24 age bracket.
  • Nine million young people are more inclined to volunteer.
  • One in three people agree that charities are the best organisations to provide effective support during the process of Brexit, while 40% say charities can help heal social divides.

30% of people are more active in a social or political cause since the beginning of 2016 with a 37% rise among the 16-24 age bracket.

According to a poll of voters aged 18 to 24, young people are most concerned about these political issues:

  • Living costs
  • Affordable housing
  • Unemployment rates
  • The future of NHS
  • The gap between rich and poor
  • University tuition fees
  • The state of UK public finances
  • Care for the elderly
  • Crime and antisocial behaviour
  • Welfare and benefits 

 After 1992, the youth vote dramatically declined with just 58% of young people voting in 1997, 49.4% in 2001 and 44.3% in 2005. But 2017 saw a sudden surge of young voters heading to the voting stations, with Jeremy Corbyn often heralded as the reason for this.

When asked why they voted for Corbyn, many young people stated that he is a man with principle, which has been highlighted by his vocal opposition to the Iraq war. Additionally, many feel that the party’s ‘youth specific’ policies and use of social media were key reasons for the younger vote.

But despite Corbyn’s popularity among young voters, the real reason is that young people were compelled by the Labour party’s commitment to the NHS, welfare, education and a softer Brexit. What’s more, a YouGov poll found that health was the most important local concern among young voters at 21%, while national issues like Brexit followed at 16%.

That said, despite an increased turnout at the general election, young people are still not getting engaged in local council elections, with the Electoral Commission saying there is a ‘stark difference’ in how informed people felt at the local elections versus the general elections.

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