Over 13.000 young people between 15 and 30 were interviewed in 28 Member States to hear their views on democratic participation, volunteering and on their employment perspectives.
6% of young people say that they have stayed abroad for the purpose of volunteering at some point, while the overwhelming majority (93%) say that they have never volunteered abroad.
The time spent volunteering abroad varies: 2% say that they volunteered abroad for a period of less than 2 weeks, while 2% say they spent between 2 and 4 weeks, and the same proportion (2%) spent longer than a month volunteering abroad. From those who say that they have not stayed abroad for the purpose of volunteering, 88% say that they did not have the opportunity and a further 5% say that they have had the opportunity but have not actually taken it up.
Respondents in the Netherlands (11%) and Ireland (10%) are the most likely to have volunteered abroad at some point. Young people in the Netherlands are also the most likely to have had the opportunity to volunteer abroad, without actually doing so, along with respondents in Finland (both 15%). Long spells of volunteering abroad (longer than a month) are most common among respondents in the Netherlands (5%) and Lithuania (5%), while short spells (less than two weeks) are most common among respondents in Estonia (6%). Young people are least likely to have had the opportunity to volunteer abroad in Italy (98% have never had the opportunity), Portugal (97%), Cyprus (95%) and Romania (95%).
In terms of age, young people aged 20-24 are the most likely to have volunteered abroad (7% compared with 5% of 15-19 year-olds and 5% of 25-30 year-olds).
7% of young people in the EU say that, in the past 12 months, they have participated in activities or projects aimed at fostering cooperation with young people from other countries.
Young people in Luxembourg (17%) are the most likely to have participated in activities or projects aimed at fostering cooperation with young people from other countries, followed by those in Slovenia (14%), Denmark (13%) and Finland (13%). The lowest proportions can be observed in the United Kingdom (4%), Bulgaria (5%), Italy (5%), Poland (5%), Portugal (5%) and Romania (5%). Looking at the activities in more detail, respondents in Slovenia are the most likely to have participated in activities or projects with young people from other European countries (13%), while young people in Luxembourg are the most likely to have taken part in activities or projects with young people from other continents (9%).
15-19 year-olds are the most likely to have participated in activities or projects aimed at fostering cooperation with young people from other countries (12%) compared with those aged 20-24 (7%) and 25-30 (4%).
There are two main areas of focus for voluntary activities undertaken by young people: charity, humanitarian and development aid (44%) and education, training and sport (40%). Voluntary activities also cover a number of other issues: culture or art (15%), human rights (13%), religion (12%), animal welfare (9%), climate change or the environment (9%) and politics (8%).
More than half of respondents (54%) say that they have not incurred any expenses as part of their voluntary activities, a further 28% of respondents say that they have incurred expenses but have not received any contributions, and one in six respondents (16%) say that they have incurred expenses and received contributions. This includes 11% who have received contributions from the organisations or people that they volunteered for, 4% who received contributions from a government or other public body, 3% from family or friends, and 2% from a commercial business.
Participation in cultural activities is decreasing. Almost 9 out of 10 respondents have participated in a cultural activity in the last 12 months. 80% of respondents have been to the cinema or a concert, while 63% have been to a visitor attraction (such as a palace, castle, church, garden, museum, gallery or historical monument). Young people are less likely to have been to a theatre, dance performance or opera (38%), or to have participated in an amateur artistic activity (30%). Overall, the level of participation has decreased by 5 percentage points since 2011, when 94% of young people said they had engaged in at least one cultural activity.
Results of the survey can be seen in this handy infographic.
For more detailed analysis, consult the survey's results.Share