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Youth Barometer 2020: Young people are mostly satisfied with services, problems are found especially in targeted services

Finnish Youth Research Network & State Youth Council

Young people’s experiences of services are mainly positive. As many as 95% of young people felt that the health care services, school health services and student health care services they had received were sufficient. They were almost equally satisfied with the availability of employment services and mental health services. These are some of the findings of the 2020 Youth Barometer, the topic of which was services offered to young people. The data was collected at the beginning of 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Finland. Services were chosen as this year’s topic, because Finnish social and health care services will undergo major structural reforms in the coming years. The data collected provides a basis for comparison to assess the success of these reforms as well as the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Some young people experienced problems especially in situations that in some way threatened their coping abilities. Debt counselling, help for gambling problems and substance abuse services are not sufficiently available. Young people also experience problems in the continuity of treatment or services, for example, and some of them have experienced disrespectful treatment or discrimination from service providers. Access to services may be take too much time, and young people may feel that they are not sufficiently able to participate in the decision-making concerning themselves.

‘Most young people are well and satisfied with the services they use. What is alarming, however, is that young people who are in a vulnerable position have the most negative experiences of services. Every young person has the right to be treated with respect and receive the support they need’, says Suvi Mäkeläinen, Vice Chair of the State Youth Council.

The Youth Barometer investigated 15- to 29-year-olds’ (N= 1938) use of social and health care services, employment services, targeted youth work services, as well as services related to leisure time, culture and open youth work.

‘Those who felt that services were sufficient clearly outnumbered those who felt that they were not. Nevertheless, the fact that one in seven young people experienced that they did not receive the necessary support from mental health services, for example, can be considered to be too high a proportion. One in four also felt that access to mental health services is not quick. Public authorities are responsible for ensuring sufficient services’, notes Tomi Kiilakoski, Leading Senior Researcher of the Finnish Youth Research Network.

Young people belonging to several minorities are especially at risk of discrimination

Nearly all respondents shared the experience that they had been treated with respect by service personnel. Most of them also felt that service personnel had explained matters to them in an understandable way. 7% of young people had experienced discrimination or prejudices in at least some of the services examined in the barometer. Discrimination was most often experienced by those young people who reported belonging to more than one minority. One in six of them had experienced discrimination from at least one service provider.

‘The Youth Barometer demonstrates that there is a need to improve services so that no one is discriminated. When services are developed, attention should be paid to identifying young people’s special needs and the significance of inclusion’, says Päivi Berg, one of the editors of the barometer, who works at XAMK’s Juvenia – youth research and development centre. 

Positive trends: young people’s self-esteem and the meaningfulness of everyday life

In addition to the annually changing topic, the Youth Barometer examines many trends related to values, everyday life and well-being. This year, the long-term follow-up data also points to certain positive trends. One of these is a sense of belonging, which has become stronger in relation to Finnish society, Europe, the European Union, as well as the global community. Young people also have better self-esteem and a stronger sense of being in control of their lives than before. While in the 2015 Youth Barometer one in three respondents felt that their daily activities were meaningful, in this year’s barometer, as many as half of the respondents reported this.

Information on the publication

Palvelu pelaa! Nuorisobarometri 2020

Päivi Berg & Sami Myllyniemi (eds.) The best services! Youth Barometer 2020. ISBN 978-952-372-015-2 (print), ISBN 978-952-372-016-9 (PDF), Finnish Youth Research Society’s publications 232, series: Field, Finnish Youth Research Network’s online publications 157, ISSN 1799-9227, State Youth Council’s publications, ISSN 2489-9461 (print), no. 67, State Youth Council’s publications ISSN 2489-947X (online), no. 67. Kl 31.32, 32.4, 216 pp., EUR 28.

The publication is only available in Finnish.


After publication, the book will be on sale at Tiedekirja ( in Snellmaninkatu 13, Helsinki, and at Rosebud Books ( in City Center, Kaivokatu 8, Helsinki. The book can be ordered for sale in other bookshops at

The online publication will be downloadable free of charge from the State Youth Council website (Visit an external site. The link opens in a new tab.).

Review copies and orders to bookshops:

Further information:

Tomi Kiilakoski
Leading Senior Researcher, Finnish Youth Research Network
tel. +358 40 504 6432

Sami Myllyniemi
Statistical Researcher, Finnish Youth Research Network
tel. +358 40 715 1721

Päivi Berg
Researcher, XAMK, Juvenia – youth research and development centre
tel. +358 40 569 7365

Suvi Mäkeläinen
Vice Chair, State Youth Council
tel. +358 45 113 4194

Background to the Youth Barometer

The Youth Barometer is an annual survey, conducted since 1994, based on interviews with young people aged between 15 and 29 living in Finland. This means that the survey has already produced data on young people’s values and experiences for more than 25 years. The Youth Barometer has been published annually since 2004 as a collaboration between the State Youth Council and the Finnish Youth Research Network.

Some of the questions in the Youth Barometer are the same every year, which makes it possible to monitor changes and observe actual trends that have taken place over time. In addition to the basic issues of work and education, long-term follow-up topics have included social influencing, housing, the future and social life, as well as life satisfaction and its different aspects. Besides the long-term topics, the annually changing theme helps to address topical issues related to young people and youth on which comprehensive up-to-date information is needed to support decision-making in society.

The 2020 Youth Barometer is based on 1,938 telephone interviews conducted at the beginning of 2020, before the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Finland.

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