Politically Active Youth Ready to See Change

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    Costa Rican youth are more political than ever, but the question is: why?

    Contrary to frequent assumption, young people in Costa Rica are not readily accepting the political culture of previous generations. A study by the Ministerio de Cultura y Juventud showed that youth aren’t just more active in the polls, but more likely to participate through the entire campaign.

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    An astonishing 86% of young people between the ages of 18 and 35 years old showed up to vote in the February elections of 2014. That’s nearly 20% more than the national average. Furthermore, of those who did not, less than 5% said it was because of a lack of information.

    Costa Rican youth also seem capable of critically analyzing sources of information, with most valuing televised debates above all.

    What are they looking for?

    The same research revealed consistencies among young voters’ areas of interest. For example, over half of the age group classified the following issues as “Very Important” in their decision: combating poverty, fighting corruption, citizen insecurity, and care for the environment.

    Interestingly enough, the group was much less interested in matters of abortion, secular state and same-sex marriage.

    How are they going to get it?

    One out of every ten young adults in Costa Rica helped actively promote their preferred candidate in some way during the campaigns leading up to elections. Perhaps it’s because they value the system more than other age groups; 77% of 18-35 year-olds claimed voting was both a right and a duty.

    That said, many also recognize that elections are not the only way to actualize change in the country. It’s now quite common for schools to require high school and university students to complete community service as part of their graduation requirements, thus exposing youth to a wide variety of issues and means of repair.

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