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Finnish Young People in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: Results from a Series of Surveys in 2020-2023

Measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) have affected the lives of all Finns since March 2020. Pandemic restrictions have affected mobility, social interaction, education, services, economy, health and well-being. The situation has been challenging for the whole population, but restrictions have also been identified as having clear generational implications. Particular concerns have been expressed about the well-being and health of older people on the one hand, and children and young people on the other.

The Finnish Youth Research Society has conducted a research project: “Study on young people’s experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic”, where Finnish youth (12-24-year-old) has been interviewed by phone on their views, life satisfaction, and trust in services during time of Covid with four rounds of surveys. Using a multidisciplinary youth research framework, the research project has used quantitative and qualitative and comparative methods to examine how young people have perceived the pandemic , its consequences for their daily lives and well-being, and what services they have used or needed during this exceptional time. The survey has also charted young people’s experiences during the pandemic in various areas such as: leisure, schooling, social relations, employment, the use of services as well as opinions on the restriction measures.

The results of the project have been reported in a series of articles entitled Poikkeusolot – nuorten arki koronan keskellä (Exceptional circumstances – young people’s everyday life in the middle of the pandemic), launched in late 2020. So far, 16 articles have been published in the series (in Finnish only).

Data and themes

This data compiled during several points in time enables examination of temporal and regional changes that have occurred during the pandemic, from restrictions to changes in world politics. The research project encompasses multiple rounds of data collection, supplemented by data collected in early 2020, for the Youth Barometer 2020 and the Children and Young People’s Leisure Survey 2020, both of which allow comparison to measurements immediately prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The data provides an intersectional view on the pandemic and allows observation of changes in the lives and wellbeing of young people in a transforming environment during uncertain times.

Survey rounds in the project

  • The first data collection (n=1001) was carried out in early autumn 2020, when the pandemic in Finland had lasted less than six months, and covers the period of extensive social closure in the spring and the subsequent summer, which was spent in relatively normal conditions. The final articles based on the data were published in June 2021.
  • A second data collection (n=1020) was carried out in early summer 2021, and the first publication based on this data was published in August 2021.
  • The third data collection (n=1003) was completed at the end of 2021 and has been used to produce a series of articles published from early 2022 onwards. As new questions in this data collection, young people were asked about their views on the COVID-19 passport and vaccines.
  • The fourth data collection (n=1010) was carried out between April and May 2022, with new questions asking young people about their views on the pandemic as well as current issues, such as the changed world political situation and the military invasion of Ukraine.

Project funding

The project is funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture, Finland.

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Alix Helfer

Master of Social Sciences
+358 44 493 1441

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Eila Kauppinen

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), PhD
Research Director
+358 44 416 5335

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Lotta Haikkola

Doctor of Social Sciences, Docent
Academy Research Fellow
+358 44 4165 300

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Tuuli Pitkänen

PhD, Adjunct professor
Research Manager
+358 41 517 8678

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