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A dialog with the young

February 24, 2023

The Baden-Württemberg Youth Study was carried out in collaboration with researchers from the University of Stuttgart for the first time
[Picture: Max Kovalenko]

How are young people in Baden-Württemberg feeling? What are the issues that move them? What are their concerns? What are their thoughts about school? Do they feel comfortable there? What do they think about democracy? These and other questions were posed to ninth-grade students in Baden-Württemberg by researchers from the University of Stuttgart on behalf of the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport. The results of this study, the sixth of its kind to be conducted and, for the first time in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart, have now been published under the title 'Youth Study Baden-Württemberg 2022'.

The project was led by Prof. André Bächtiger (Dept. Of Political Theory and Empirical Democracy Research at the Institute for Social Sciences), Prof. Christine Sälzer (Dept. of Education, Institute of Educational Science), Prof. Susanne Vogl (Dept. Of Social Sciences and Empirical Social Sciences, Institute for Social Sciences) and Jun.-Prof. Maria Wirzberger (Department of Teaching and Learning with Intelligent Systems, Institute of Educational Science). A total of 2160 responses from students from 107 schools were included in the evaluation; with the aid of statistical procedures, the results may be considered to be representative. One important result of the evaluation is that 79 percent of respondents say that they feel comfortable in their school.

"School is an important part of young people's lives,” says Theresa Schopper, Minister for Education in Baden-Württemberg: Not only is it a place of learning, but also a living space for children and young people, which makes it all the more important that they feel happy there. This made it all the worse when this important part of their living space was shut off to them during the Covid-19 pandemic. "In retrospect, the fact that schools were closed for such a long time during the pandemic was a mistake," says Schopper : "Following this study, we would like to engage in a dialog with young people. We specifically want to discuss their issues, questions, and opinions in relation to politics.” This is why six regional youth conferences have been scheduled for the second quarter of this year to discuss the findings of the study with the young people affected. The plan then is to compile the findings from the individual conferences at a major professional conference in the summer of 2023.

Concerns about war and terror: support for democracy

War and terrorism are the top of young people's list of concerns: 67 percent of all respondents are either very or extremely concerned about these issues. Other matters of concern for the students questioned are social inequality/poverty and climate change. The study results show that 57 percent affirm the statement that continuing on the current course will result in an environmental catastrophe. There is little support for statements such as 'Humans have the right to reshape nature to suit their needs' or 'The primary reason plants and animals exist is for them to be used by humans'. A major contributing factor to this environmental awareness is the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) element, which is a guiding principle of the national curriculum, as well as the great efforts made by many schools to address this issue.

Some 47 percent are extremely or quite satisfied with democracy. This would indicate that a democratic system is still preferred to other types of political systems (and even more clearly to non-democratic forms of government). For example, 88 percent of those surveyed rate a democratic system as good or very good. The younger generation is definitely interested in politics, although 39 percent of the respondents have little or no interest in politics. As expected then, 86 percent of them have not yet taken advantage of any extracurricular civic education programs.

"Providing the country's young people with regular opportunities to share their experiences and assessments is a key tool for successful planning for the future," says Prof. Bächtiger. "A survey, such as the Youth Study 2022,” says Prof. Vogl, “gives us important insights into what moves young people, what their everyday lives are like, but also how they see their futures unfolding. We also see some interesting differences between the groups we surveyed, and on a great many issues."

Berufliche Zukunft: Mehr Unterstützung von Schule gewünscht

Professional career: greater support from school desired

In terms of their professional careers, graduation from high school (obtaining the Abitur) is high on the list of priorities for students, as is obtaining a secondary school diploma (Realschulabschluss). When asked about their career goals, young people still have fairly stereotypical ideas: the girls questioned tended more toward occupations in health or social services and education, whereas the boys focused more on engineering or IT. Some 52 percent of young people would like more support when it comes to choosing a career, whilst the other 48 percent say that they already get enough support.

Source: Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport Baden-Württemberg

To the results of the youth study

Media contact

This image shows Andrea Mayer-Grenu

Andrea Mayer-Grenu


Scientific Consultant, Research Publications


University Commu­nications

Keplerstraße 7, 70174 Stuttgart

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