Youth Study

Coping with Uncertainty: Youth in the Middle East and North Africa

In 2016/2017, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung conducted a large-scale representative survey of youths and young adults in eight countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Encompassing around 9,000 young people between 16 and 30 years from Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia, the results offer fascinating insights into their attitudes to life, self-image, and perceptions of the future.

The FES MENA Youth Study reveals the uncertainties confronting young people from the region in many realms. However, faced with these imperatives, young people find ways to cope with difficult circumstances and discover their own solutions to make headway. Many of them look to the future with confidence, despite major economic upheavals and scant scope for political participation, as well as violence, war, poverty, and hunger in some countries.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung views young women and men as a decisive factor for democratic development in the region and is keen to strengthen their potential to initiate change in the world of politics and across society. Based on the survey results, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung seeks to foster engagement with young people’s situation in the MENA region.

In-depth analyses of the FES MENA Youth Study 2016 have been published in a collective work edited by Jörg Gertel and Ralf Hexel in German, English and Arabic. With contributions by Mathias Albert, Ines Braune, Helmut Dietrich, Jörg Gertel, Sonja Hegasy, Ralf Hexel, David Kreuer, Rachid Ouaissa, Carola Richter, Christoph H. Schwarz, Nadine Sika, Thorsten Spengler, Friederike Stolleis, Ann-Christin Wagner, Isabelle Werenfels and Tamara Wyrtki.


Main Results of the 2016 Study

1. Young people in the MENA region are vulnerable

2. The family is the main point of reference

3. Young people’s gender roles reflect intersectional inequalities

4. Religiosity is increasing, but is practiced on an individual level

5. MENA youth distance themselves from politics

6. Democracy is the preferred political system

7. Political mobilisation focuses on socio-economic objectives

8. Civic engagement occurs outside institutions

9. Most young people do not want to emigrate

10. MENA youth are optimistic about the future


Press response

Dr. Friederike Stolleis

Project Director

+216 99 545 627
friederike.stolleis(at)fes.de


Henda Maarfi

Program Manager

henda.maarfi(at)fes.de

Country Studies

Survey Data

The data collected on assignment by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and in collaboration of Kantar Public (previously TNS Infratest Politikforschung) and the University Leipzig can be found in separate PDF-Files for each country:

Questionnaire, MENA Regional overview, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syrian Refugees, Tunisia 

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