LONDON (Reuters) – Young people are less satisfied with democracy and more disillusioned than at any other time in the past century, particularly in Europe, North America, Africa and Australia, a study by the University of Cambridge found.
Millennials, or those born between 1981 and 1996, are more disillusioned than Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1981, or the Baby Boomers born between 1944 and 1964 and the Interwar Generation 1918-1943.
“Around the world, younger generations are not only more dissatisfied with democratic performance than the old, but also more dissatisfied than previous generations at the same stage of life,” the Cambridge study found.
The picture is poor in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, France, Australia and the United Kingdom.
But satisfaction has increased in Germany, South Korea and many post-Communist countries in Central and Eastern Europe.
The main reason behind disillusionment with democracy among young people is wealth and income inequality, said the report, citing figures showing that Millennials make up about a quarter of the US population but only own 3% of the wealth. The Baby Boomers hold 21% of the wealth of the same age.
The study suggests that populist challenges to mainstream, “establishment” politics could actually help increase democratic engagement by stunning moderate parties and leaders to reverse the damage.
The Cambridge Center for the Future of Democracy investigates data from more than 4.8 million respondents collected in 160 countries between 1973 and 2020.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Edited by Mark Heinrich
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