This is the first in-depth examination of Poland’s youth since the start of COVID-19. It reports on the experiences, aspirations, ambitions and values of the first generation of Poles to grow up in a post-communist society. 

The research was conducted over the course of 2020 against the backdrop of both the pandemic and ongoing political controversy and social division in Poland. The year saw the largest street protests in the country since the fall of communism, led by the grassroots All-Polish Women’s Strike movement. 

Based on a survey of 2,000 young adults aged 18-30 across Poland, focus groups and social media research, the picture painted by the study is both complex and nuanced.

There is optimism and a strong sense of agency concerning private lives and personal futures. This is set against pessimism about global challenges and disengagement from formal political processes.

Young Poles are ambitious, digitally savvy and globally engaged. But they feel unprepared by their education for the demands of working life and the unique pressures their generation will face in adulthood. This includes both challenges specific to the Polish context and those that are shared with their counterparts in the UK and elsewhere. 

The report includes recommendations intended to promote policy change in discussion with stakeholders in Poland, the UK, the EU and beyond.

About Next Generation

This study is part of Next Generation, a global research programme to analyse the conditions that support young people to reach their potential as fulfilled, productive and active citizens. Next Generation research examines young people’s views around education, employment and lifestyle.

It also uncovers their hopes for their country, their degree of international engagement and views on the wider world, and the values that affect their lives. It aims to ensure that young people’s voices are heard and their interests properly represented in policy decisions that will have lasting implications for their lives.