Tourists at Puerta del Sol, on June 1, 2023, in Madrid (Spain). Spain has recorded the best April in history in the number of international tourists and spending levels, 20% above the pre-pandemic record. The detailed data is even more encouraging: in the first four months, Spain received 21 million arrivals, 32.4% more than in the same period of 2022, according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE). JUNE 01, 2023;TOURISM;TRAVEL;FOREIGNERS;TOURIST;TOURISTS;VACATIONS;LEISURE; Eduardo Parra / Europa Press 01/6/2023
“The first thing that youth should do is not accept advice,” proposed Eduardo Galeano. Each new generation fights the stories of its predecessors and is not satisfied with the conquests of which they were not part, which they already take for granted. Nobody is satisfied with the social advances of their grandparents.
A study by the Youth Council of the Community of Madrid brings to light some worrying data about the young population of the region, which is also extrapolated to the rest of the country and which responds to a social context trapped in a loop of economic and threats of nuclear wars.
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This extensive research considers support for democracy among young people to be “diffuse,” as it is “markedly lower than among adults.” Young people who consider democracy as the only legitimate system are 15% less than adults. Furthermore, another 16% believe that a dictatorship can be a more legitimate political system or that the distinction between democracy and dictatorship makes no difference.
This disaffection and disenchantment with democracy is harassed by the lack of opportunities provided for stability and a look toward the future. The population between 16 and 35 years old considers that sectors such as public health have worsened and that it is much more difficult to find a well-paid job now than when their parents were their age. Disillusionment is also accompanied by data, since severe material deficiency affects 1 in 12 Spaniards, the highest number since records began. 5.4% of Spaniards do not have the resources to eat meat or fish and 17% cannot keep their house warm.
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“Madrid youth look to their future from uncertainty and resignation due to the impossibility of developing an autonomous life project such as becoming independent or starting a family,” says Sergio López, president of the Youth Council of the Community of Madrid (CJCM). ).
The report concludes that “a gap is developing between young people and adults in their levels of support for the democratic system.” In fact, it is a statement that is extracted from data such as that, among young people between 16 and 24 years old, almost 50% of Spaniards and 42% of Madrid residents are “little satisfied with democracy at a general level.” And the next age group is even more dissatisfied: among people between 24 and 34 years old, more than 20% are “not at all satisfied” with how democracy works.
Another negative point, in addition to the loss of faith in democracies, a feeling that has its echo throughout the world, with elections that have brought far-right and conservative movements to power, is that young people have lost confidence in institutions. . Young people (between 16 and 24) who say they do not trust institutions at all rise to almost 29 percent, while the figure rises almost ten points, to 38 percent, for young people between 25 and 34.
Although distrust in public powers has a clear relationship with the political demands of young people, who demand better public health, increases in the Minimum Interprofessional Wage, regulation of housing prices and even implementing a universal basic income. Young people do not buy the narrative that lowering taxes will generate wealth and believe more in policies such as capping rents.
Another symptom identified among youth is a significant disinterest in politics, although the report does not worry too much about this and attributes it to a “life cycle” due to a question of age. “It is expected that those who are young today will become more interested and involved politically. “Political apathy, as disinterest in politics has normally been interpreted, is corrected as one has the opportunity to participate in political experiences and interact with the democratic system,” the document maintains.
However, political disaffection is a symptom that runs through the entire population of the Community of Madrid, a feeling that experts assure leads to demobilization. It is surprising that the current data is worse than that of 2012, when Spain suffered the consequences of an economic crisis that placed the unemployment rate at 26%. “If compared with data for the Spanish population from 2012, it is observed that in Madrid the levels of disaffection are slightly higher than those seen then,” the report states. Individuals between 16 and 24 years old have almost 55% disaffected, while among young adults between 25 and 34 years old it drops slightly to 52%.
In terms of equality, perhaps the most striking fact is that the youngest population is the most reactionary to certain policies of equality and the fight against machismo. 33% of Madrid men between 16 and 24 years old are against gender self-determination policies, the highest figure in any age group and very different from that of women, which in those same ages drops to 14.2 %.
Part of the survey confirms a confused view of feminism, since 22% of these men between 16 and 24 years old believe that “violence has no gender” if the situation arises that a woman has been slapped by your partner after an argument. Directly, 11% would not consider this action sexist violence, a figure higher than the rest of men of other ages.
Irene Sánchez Vitores, in charge of this section of the report and political scientist at the Rey Juan Carlos I University, calls these data “bittersweet.” “There are some elements that suggest that there is a lack of references. The rates of support for egalitarian attitudes in many cases are much lower than those of women of the same age or they dominate positions in which inequality is denied, as was the case with modern sexism indicators,” the expert concludes.