The crisis generation: Latest trend study “Youth in Germany” published

Research by Prof. Klaus Hurrelmann and co-author Simon Schnetzer provides insights on mental well-being of young people.

The war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change – young people are currently grappling with multiple crises. In the latest trend study “Youth in Germany” (Trendstudie Jugend in Deutschland), Hertie School Professor of Public Health and Education Klaus Hurrelmann and youth researcher Simon Schnetzer surveyed more than 1000 young people aged 14 to 29 to gain updated insights on what influences young people’s mental well-being.

The results show that the young generation currently feels a loss of control. "The emergence of crisis after crisis is putting a very heavy burden on young people in Germany,” says Hurrelmann. “After two years of COVID restrictions affecting their private and professional lives, many of them now are psychologically very tense. In addition, the threat of war in Europe weighs on their minds as another heavy stress. Many are really worried about their psychological, social and financial future."

When asked about their biggest concern, 68% of respondents mentioned the war in Ukraine, followed by climate change (55%), inflation (46%) and societal division (40%). These findings are consistent with the results of the researchers’ previous study conducted in autumn 2021. 

Moreover, the study sheds light on young people’s attitudes and behaviours with regard to COVID-19. As the pandemic dragged on, dashing hopes for a return to normalcy, respondents continued to adhere to safety measures and were in favour of vaccinations. 84% reported that they were vaccinated, a higher percentage than the general public in Germany (76%). Stress (45%), listlessness (35%) and exhaustion (32%) were the three most commonly reported strains on mental health. Furthermore, 27% reported depression, 13% helplessness and 7% suicidal thoughts – raising concerns about the long-term health effects of the pandemic on young people. Many would like more professional support to cope with stress, also directly at school.

The trend study "Youth in Germany" (Trendstudie Jugend in Deutschland) is published bi-annually and is based on a representative online survey among 1,021 young Germans aged 14 to 29. Responsible for publication are Hertie School Professor Klaus Hurrelmann and youth researcher Simon Schnetzer. The quotations for representativeness were prepared by the Institut für Demoskopie Allensbach. The survey was conducted by Respondi AG from 9 to 21 March 2021.

More information on the study (in German).


The Hertie School is not responsible for any content linked or referred to from these pages. Views expressed by the author/interviewee may not necessarily reflect the views and values of the Hertie School.

More about our expert