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Danish Youths are Political Champions

Danish youth aged 15-29 secure a lead position in the OECD ranking of political engagement. According to the survey, 25% of the youth in OECD countries do not care for politics at all. But in Denmark, the political engagement among youth is the biggest of all the countries: only 7% of Danish youth remain utterly uninterested in politics.

The statistics, which are from the OECD report Society at a Glace, also show that the generally high voter turnout in Denmark also applies to its youth: more than 80% of the 18-24 year olds practice their right to vote. The OECD average for youth voting is below 70 %.

Many credit the Danish educational system for the lead position and point to the fact that Danish primary and secondary schools values democracy and inclusion of student councils in important decision-making processes.

In 2014, the first Danish youth election was held. The election was announced on Danish public television by the prime minister, followed by three weeks of election campaigning conducted by the political youth parties. At the end of the three weeks, 75.000 students in grade 8 and 9 casted their votes at the mock election. The election was arranged as an authentic election experience to engage youth in democracy and democratic participation at an early age, and in hope of increasing the voter turnout of the group once they turn 18. Studies from the subsequent 2015 election showed that more youths had voted than in previous years.

Denmark has a strong tradition of organizing political youth in independent youth parties and the tendency has only been strengthened in previous years, partially due to the youth elections, but also on account of democracy education and most recently due to the parliamentary elections in June 2015. Since 2006, there has been a 50% growth in youth party memberships. At the same time, the “mother parties” have been experiencing a decline in memberships for several years.

Youth in politics is one of DIPDs three key areas of focus, not only in acknowledgment of the important role of youth in developing strong and sustainable democracies, but also due to the Danish experience with youth as political actors and the strong tradition of political youth parties. This makes for a strong impact cooperation between Danish political youth and political youth in developing and transitioning countries.

Read more about DIPD youth activities in Egypt and Myanmar

For more information, contact project coordinator, Mathias Parsbæk Skibdal maps@dipd.dk

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