What Matters Most

4 March 2016

The purpose of this ongoing piece of research is to understand young people’s views on today’s key public policy issues.

There are many reasons to believe that young people do not care about the public policy issues currently facing the country.

Young people are now less likely to be members of a political party or union, less likely to register and less likely to vote than in any other time in modern history.

Fewer than 2% of young people are members of a political party and just 9% of those in employment are part of a trade union – both lower than any other age group. At the last general election in 2015, it is estimated that voter turnout amongst young people was just 44%.

For these reasons, the voices and opinions of young people are often overlooked by decision makers and the issues that matter most to them get ignored. But at a time where difficult spending decisions are continuing to be necessary, YMCA wants to challenge this status quo.

YMCA wants to make sure the key public policy issues that matter to young people are heard by decision makers and are at the heart of this Government’s programme up to 2020 and beyond.

To understand ‘what matters most’ to this generation of young people, we asked more than 2,000 16 to 24-year-olds across England and Wales what they think are the most important issues that need to be tackled.

The findings from research this are set out in a report which can be downloaded here.

Key results include:

  • 40% of young people have highlighted access to jobs as their main concern growing up in 2016
  • Quality of education and cost of further education were the second and third most commonly raised concerns from young people
  • When questioned about housing, 42% of young people said rental costs were the biggest issue for them while 44% said exam worries were a primary concern, when questioned specifically around education and training.

Alongside the report, YMCA has also produced a compendium setting out the findings across the regions of England and Wales.

If you want to find out more about this research or if you have a query please contact our Policy Team on policy@england.ymca.org.uk