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Research reveals 70% of young people don’t know the name of their MP, as thousands prepare to vote in ground-breaking election for children

  • Three weeks ahead of the general election, UK charities reveal that 70% of young people under 18 years old don’t know the name of their MP. 
  • 59% are unable to name which party their local MP belongs to and 79% are unaware of which issues matter most to their elected representative. 
  • Polling by Opinium underscores importance of political literacy project ‘Our Generation. Our Vote’, which will culminate in a mass-scale election for children at the end of June.

12 June 2024 – With three weeks to go until the nation heads to the polls in the general election, research from the UK’s top youth and education organisations has revealed that 70% of young people don’t know the name of their local MP, with over half unable to say which political party their MP belongs to and 79% unaware of the issues that their MPs prioritise. Two in five (39%) young people say they don’t understand what politicians do.

The polling by Opinium comes as political literacy programme ‘Our Generation. Our Vote’ gets underway in schools and youth groups across England and Wales, with some 50,000 under 18-year-olds now registered to take part. The education project will teach children about politics and the democratic process before culminating in a mass election for children. Tens of thousands are expected to cast their vote for political candidates standing in their local constituencies, with results announced on Friday 28th June – one week ahead of the general election. 

The polling by Opinium of 8 to 17-year-olds was commissioned by the ‘Our Generation. Our Vote’ coalition, which includes Save the Children, NCS (National Citizen Service), ACT (Association for Citizenship Teaching), Girlguiding, Young Citizens and The Politics Project. Data from the coalition previously revealed that only one in ten children believe that politicians always or often focus on the needs of young people when making decisions. Similarly, only 9% of 8 to17-year-olds feel politicians care about the needs of all people equally, with working age adults being seen as the priority demographic.

The research also revealed where children get their political information from, with just over half of 8 to 17-year-olds (51%) citing family and 41% TV news. Social media also featured as a prominent source, with YouTube (24%) and TikTok (20%) proving the most popular platforms for consuming political news. 

‘Our Generation. Our Vote’ seeks to provide a political education to young people through credible, unbiased, curriculum-linked resources in participating schools and youth settings, with a focus on reaching those from marginalised communities. The resulting election for children aims to carve out an important space for young voices ahead of the general election.

Farida, 16 from Salford, Qahira, 16, from Cardiff, Obed, 15, from London and Lydia, 16 from Dudley, attended the Westminster launch event for ‘Our Generation. Our Vote’, where they expressed their views to politicians from major political parties in England and Wales. 

They are all supporting the election for children and are excited to have the opportunity to use their voices to influence political decision-makers.

Farida, 16, RECLAIM activist from Salford, Manchester: 

“Our political culture remains largely inaccessible to young people, especially those from marginalised backgrounds. In today’s political landscape, the widening class gap is exacerbating the disenfranchisement of working-class youth.

It is imperative to confront this glaring disparity head-on, ensuring that every young person, regardless of their socioeconomic status, has the essential tools and knowledge to challenge and reshape our county’s political future. Political leaders must prioritise accessible political education to disrupt the ingrained cycle where voter awareness remains a luxury of the privileged few.

There are millions of young people across the country desperate for representation, for influence and for change. 20 years from now, someone like me, a young black female from a working-class background, who is a proud Muslim, must not be an exception in politics, but as an accurate representation of the diverse voices building our society for the better.”

Obed, 15, member of Newham Youth Empowerment Service, London:

“It feels like MPs don’t care or keep in mind young people when they are making decisions, it doesn’t feel like we are their priority.

There is a real lack of diversity with politicians, specifically people of colour in politics. That can make you feel like you’re not included, and you don’t have inspirational leaders to aspire to when you watch them on the news.” 

Qahira, 16, iWill Ambassador from Cardiff: 

“It is important that the issues we care about are heard and discussed by MPs. Currently it doesn’t feel that way. We are the future generation that might run the country one day, MPs’ decisions and what they say cause ripple effects that are passed down to future generations.”

Lydia, 17, Girlguiding Advocate from Dudley

“Young people have started to feel apathetic towards politics because they don’t feel seen and represented by politicians, this needs to change, and young people need to be supported and empowered by having their voices heard!”

Meg Briody, Head of Child and Youth Participation at Save the Children UK said: 

“With three weeks to go until the general election, now is a crucial time for children’s voices to be heard. The results of our research reveal how young people currently feel overlooked by politicians. The polling shows us the need for political literacy projects like ‘Our Generation. Our Vote’ to engage young people in democracy and our political processes. 

We’ve teamed up with some of the UK’s leading youth organisations to create an opportunity to platform young people’s views, particularly from young people that have felt unrepresented in political spaces. We look forward to the results on Friday 28th June.”



Photos available to download here.

For further information please contact: Save the Children Media Office +44(0)7831 650409, media@savethechildren.org.uk

About Our Generation. Our Vote: 

‘Our Generation. Our Vote’ is a coalition of organisations across the child rights, youth democracy and education sectors delivering an education project that aims to teach young people about politics and democracy. It will culminate in a mass-scale election where children across England and Wales will have the opportunity to cast their vote for candidates in their constituencies, with results announced on Friday 28th June.

Our Generation. Our Vote coalition members:

ACT (Association for Citizenship Teaching), Boys' and Girls' Clubs of Wales, Children’s Commissioner for Wales, First News, Girlguiding, I Have A Voice, London Borough of Newham Youth Empowerment Service, London Youth, My Life My Say, NCS (National Citizen Service), National Children’s Bureau, Platform4YP, RECLAIM Project, Save the Children, Shout Out UK, Sky FYI, First News, Teach the Future, The British Youth Council, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, The Politics Project, The Politics School, UK Youth, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, VotesforSchools, Young Citizens 

About the survey: 

The survey has been conducted by Opinium on a nationally representative sample of 2,000 8 to17-year-olds in England and Wales between 21st-26th February 2024.

The survey was co-funded by the NCS (National Citizen Service) and Our Generation. Our Vote. coalition.