Citizens in Transition in England, Wales and Scotland: Young citizens at 18-25

David Kerr, Marian Sainsbury, Rebecca Wheater, Linda Sturman, Naomi Rowe

24 January 2012

Cels-CIT home page | Longitudinal study

This report presents the key findings from the second component of the CiT study, namely the cross-national survey of citizenship participation and engagement among 19-25 year olds in England, Scotland and Wales. It sheds light on their evolving citizenship attitudes and their current and future engagement and behaviours, particularly in relation to political interest and engagement. Young people in these countries have had different citizenship learning experiences. For those schooled wholly or mainly in England, Citizenship formed a part of their statutory educational experience from age 11 to 16. In contrast, those schooled wholly or mainly in Scotland or Wales might have experienced citizenship education but it was not statutory and it was delivered through a different curriculum framework.

Key Findings

  • There were many areas of similarity across all three nations, including in some of the key areas highlighted in the longitudinal report
  • In all three nations, young people are equally interested in politics, although young Scots are more likely to intend to vote in local and European elections in future.
  • Across all three nations, there is variation in young people’s civic knowledge, and gaps exist, particularly in relation to economic issues and how parliamentary bodies are composed.
  • There are cross-national differences in levels of trust, with those in Scotland having more trust in their family and others of a similar age to themselves. Across all three nations, however, levels of trust in politicians and the Government were low.
  • Young people in England were least likely to feel part of their local town or country, while those in Scotland were more likely to feel part of Europe.