The Young Bulgarians: More Causes for Optimism but also More Signals for Alarm

The young generation in Bulgaria shows increasing European identity and beside it growing signs of nationalism.

Migratory intention is not so strong compared to previous years but alienation among Roma, for instance, is growing deeper. It seems that for a first time fear of social injustices emerges and it is yet another symptom of overcoming that certain individualism which was shared by the young generation in previous periods. Today’s youngsters are more social, perhaps more pragmatic, more optimistic, more distant from civic and political activity and more inclined to postpone their leaving from the parents’ home.

It is part of the conclusions from a youth study presented by the experts from the Institute of Sociology “Ivan Hadjiyski”, the sociological agency “Gallup International” and “Friedrich Ebert” Foundation: Prof. Petar-Emil Mitev, Assoc. Prof. Boris Popivanov, Parvan Simeonov, Assoc. Prof. Siyka Kovacheva, Dr. Helene Kortländer and Maria Petrova at a press conference in the venue of the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).

The study “The Bulgarian Youth 2018/2019” conducted by “Gallup International” and ordered by “Friedrich Ebert” Foundation, Bureau Bulgaria, is part of the international research project “Southeast Europe Youth Survey 2018/2019” and aims at identifying, describing and analysing youth attitudes and models of behaviour in the contemporary society. The fieldwork was realised among young people aged 15-29 simultaneously in 10 countries from Southeast Europe in 2018.

The whole study can be found HERE.

Among young people’s fears with shares of 45 per cent social injustice takes the lead. Substantial is the perception of corruption – in 42 per cent of the answers as well as poverty – again in 42 per cent. In general, the social among youth begins to counterweigh the previously dominating individualism. It is also proved by the fact that inside the generation social networks tend to replace television as leading media channel.

Pressure for emigration goes down. While in 2002 14 per cent claimed to have no intention to emigrate, in 2014 their share was 47 per cent and in 2018 it reaches 61 per cent. Decision to emigrate is less perceived as a turning point and rather more as mobility facilitated by the European programmes.

Parallel to the European feeling, nationalism seems on the rise. In manifestations of patriotism and nationalism, the Bulgarian youngsters appear at the top of the region.

Declarative adherence to legal marriage and two-children model is increasing but at the same time statistics shows that marriage is being more and more postponed as well as leaving the parental home.

Sexual emancipation is spreading. While in 2014 42 per cent assessed chastity before marriage as an outdated concept, now this share amounts to 66 per cent.

Smartphones, private cars and personal computers are considered obligatory regardless of the living standard enjoyed by the young people.

A commonplace goal is also regarded higher education (of course, except for the Roma). In 1987 54 per cent desired higher education, in 1995 62 per cent, in 2002 69 per cent, in 2014 73 per cent while now the share is 59 per cent meaning that the trend of growth is reversed. The young people largely share mismatches between labour market requirements and what universities can provide as a service. As a leading indicator for finding a job, luck stands first. And in total almost 60 per cent agree that in Bulgaria it is more or less likely that marks in school and universities can be bought.

As a whole, the generation is more optimistic, somewhat more pragmatic and simultaneously more and more distant from politics and forms of civic participation. Desire for involvement in various forms of activism is minimal.


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