Romania ranks third in the European Union in terms of the percentage of young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion (31%), one out of four young Romanians between the ages of 25 and 29 has a monthly income of less than 1,500 RON, and 1.2 million have left the country in the last 10 years, reveals a study launched on Wednesday by the Romanian Academic Society and the Association for Active Development, in partnership with IRES – the Romanian Institute for Evaluation and Strategy, with the support of the Commission for Youth and Sports of the Chamber of Deputies, according to Agerpres.
The study „Challenges of young people in Romania. Analysis and recommendations” was presented, at the Parliament Palace, by Constantin-Alexandru Manda, advocacy coordinator at the Academic Society of Romania, and sociologist Antonio Amuza and it was carried out on a sample of 814 young people, aged between 18 and 29 years.
„We call it a barometer, it’s actually an opinion poll, only that it’s something more complex than that. We didn’t just poll the opinions of young people in Romania, we were interested in their needs and expectations, so we somehow made them partners in this approach, and we are happy to carry their voice forward in the parliamentary committee,” Antonio Amuza said.
He declared himself „surprised” by the fact that „only” 35% of Romanians say that things are going in a good direction, the other 65% considering that things „are not quite like that”.
The sociologist added that the Army, the European Union, NATO, the university and scientific environment are at the top of the list of young people’s trust in public institutions. „Unfortunately, the pre-university education system is somewhere in the middle of this hierarchy. (…) The university system is disconnected from the labor market,” Amuza added.
Among the issues reported by young people is the increase in prices, one of the country’s serious problems, school dropouts, problems related to the environment or climate.
If parliamentary elections were held next Sunday, 82% of respondents say they would participate.
„This is a very high percentage and every time we survey this, in the last 5, 10, 15 years, we see some very low percentages in the actual participation in the vote. If it is not a matter of presidential elections, more than 35% does not exist as attendance at the vote. (…) There is no such civic education as we would like,” the sociologist pointed out.
The survey also reveals that 42% of the young people interviewed agree with the introduction of the right to vote from the age of 16.
On the other hand, there is a significant percentage of young Romanians who still live with their parents or share the living space with other people.
„Very few of the young Romanians rent a student dormitory, which makes us wonder what are the conditions for not accessing these services. (…) The conclusions would be two, from my point of view. To what extent can we really calculate what the cost of education is. I think that at the level of this committee, at least, and, surely, further, civil society, NGOs, etc., can think to what extent a control panel can be built (…) The second conclusion is a recommendation – to monitor to what extent there is a professional follow-up, to what extent young people in Romania who received education in a certain field end up working in that field.
Constantin-Alexandru Manda specified that the analysis was divided into four levels: standard of living and lifestyle, education and professional training, housing, civic and political participation – and recommendations.
The study took into account the massive emigration of young people between the ages of 15 and 29 – 1.2 million in the last 10 years, the lack of trust in the political environment, as well as the perception of a wrong direction for Romania (two out of three young people).
„The barometer shows that we have a lack of trust in the political environment. (…) We still observe that, although young people in Romania do not trust the governing institutions of the Romanian state, they have a lot of trust in the EU and NATO, a lot of trust in international cooperation and Euro-Atlantic integration organizations. If we look at the four dimensions of the analysis, we will notice that in terms of living standards, Romania is in third place in the EU in terms of the percentage of young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Practically 574,000 young people in Romania, according to the INS (National Institute of Statistics), one out of three young Romanians, between the ages of 15 and 29, are at risk of poverty or social exclusion, which places us third in the EU in this regard. And if we look at the potential causes, we will notice that we are in second place in the EU when it comes to income inequalities,” Manda explained.
He also stated that Romania ranks 26th out of 27 in the EU for the median hourly income of employees under 30 (3.52 EUR vs. 11.08 EUR).
According to the study, two out of three young people who have not consulted a dentist when needed indicate lack of money as the reason, one out of four young people between the ages of 18 and 29 has a routine medical checkup once every two years or less often, and 14% say that they never have a medical check-up.
„We are also in first place in the EU when it comes to the percentage of young people who do not consume any fruit or vegetables per day (71.5%) and the percentage of young people who do not even a minute of aerobic physical movement per day (66.4%),” Manda said.
The barometer data show, among other things, that 15.3% of young people between the ages of 18 and 24 do not have more than eight classes, and Romania is in last place in the EU in terms of „young people with higher education” (24 .8%). More than half (51%) of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 believe that school does not prepare students at all or hardly at all for the labour market, while 57% think that school does not prepare them at all or hardly at all as students to be independent adults.
On the other hand, 93% of young Romanians between 18 and 29 consider that their involvement can make a difference. However, 58% have not volunteered in the last three years, 79% have not participated in any civic action, and 72% have never sent a request to a public institution to solve a problem, the study indicates.
The survey was the subject of a wide debate, the host of the event being the president of the Youth and Sports Committee, USR (Save Romania Union) deputy Oana Toiu, which was attended by parliamentarians, representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Labour, student and youth associations, and other institutions.