Iuventa / Výskum mládeže / Data catalogue / 2010 / Social and civil participation of rural youth

Social and civil participation of rural youth

Research identification sheet ID: DAYR 028

Authors of the survey: Mgr. Ing. Danka Moravčíková (leader of the project) – Centrum celoživotného vzdelávania (Lifelong education centre)/Department of social sciences, Faculty of economics and management, Slovak Agriculture University in Nitra, Ing. Martina Hanová, PhD. – Department of statistics and operating research, FEM SPU in Nitra, Ing. Renata Prokeinová, PhD. - Department of statistics and operating research, FEM SPU in Nitra, PhDr. Pavol Barát - Department of social sciences, FEM SPU in Nitra; professional consultant of the project – Prof. Ladislav Macháček, PhD
Period of data collection: May and June 2009
Data collection:  It is a regional quantitative survey. Data was collected using the technique of standardised interviews in the form of a questionnaire. Interviewers were students at the FEM SPU in Nitra as a part of the practical part of the Rural and agricultural sociology or as a part of their bachelor theses on this survey project. Field data collection was done in randomly selected 29 municipalities in the Nitra region in May and June 2009. The questionnaire was prepared in the form of brainstorming in January 2009; following expert consultations, its first version was prepared and pretested in April 2009 in 12 in-depth interviews with representatives of the target group. The resulting version of the questionnaire consisted of 27 closed and semi-closed questions. Along to that, questionnaires were addressed also to municipal offices of municipalities where the youth survey was carried out. In order to compare data collected in towns to data from rural municipalities, the questionnaire was reduced and edited from the questionnaire used in the survey project titled Youth policy of regions and municipalities in Slovakia (see DAVM 019). That stage of data collection was carried out in December 2009 and January 2010.


The Faculty of Economic and Management of the SPU in Nitra prepared and carried out, in years 2008-2010, a survey project aimed at rural youth as a part of the Support and development of surveys of the youth program with financial support of the Ministry of Education of the Slovak Republic and Slovak Youth Institute IUVENTA. The purpose of the survey project is to characterise participation of rural youth in decision making and life and development of municipalities in Nitra self-governing region (NSK), map specifics, preconditions and effects of the participation, subjective and objective reasons of its assumed insufficiency. The Nitra self-governing region is the region with the highest share of rural population in Slovakia (51.8 %). Because of missing comprehensive information about the issue of participation of rural youth, we found it necessary to pay attention to it in a separate survey project. The project titled Social and civil participation of the youth in NSK has been carried out by the Centre of lifelong education at the FEM SPU in Nitra, led by the team of employees of the Department of social sciences and the Department of statistics and operating research at the FEM SPU in Nitra.

Methodol of sample selection adnd representativeness

The questionnaire was submitted to young people aged 15–30 with their place of permanent residence in municipalities belonging to the NSK. There were differences monitored in three age groups: 15-19 years of age, 20-24 years of age and 25-30 years of age. Due to the structure of municipalities in the NSK, the respondents represented two aggregated size categories of rural municipalities – with less than 2,000 inhabitants and with 2,000-5,000 inhabitants. The extent of the selection set was set to 655 respondents. Analysis of logical sequence of questions filtered 625 of questionnaires. Representativeness of the selection set broken down to gender and age was verified by using Chí quadrat test of good congruence with data of Municipal statistics (Slovak Statistical Office). Result of the test confirmed representativeness of the selection set which was the basic precondition for performance of further analyses.

Selected findings

The position of the mayor is usually a significant authority and 99 % of respondents in surveyed rural areas knew him or her. 13 % of respondents knew all members of the municipal council and 67 % of respondents knew at least some of them. On the contrary, 9 % of respondents stated that they only one local deputy and 11 % knew none. Approximately three-fourths of responding young people were interested predominantly in activities of municipalities. 68 % of respondents were interested in activities of the mayor, however, most of them only partially, which also applied to the interest in activities of some local deputies. Respondents showed the least interest in municipal budgets.

Participation of rural youth in events held by local government is of rather passive nature. Most of them (82 %) always, often or sometimes take part in such events, however, only 46 % of respondents contribute to their preparation. As many as 70 % of the young people are members of various local unions, associations, clubs or organisations. There are 39 % of respondents active in one of the above organisations, the rest mentioned they were members of more associations. There is an overwhelming dominance of membership in traditional types of rural associations that provide for leisure time activities of young people and let them meet and communicate with their age peers from other rural municipalities. There is a much lower membership in associations that have ideological, political or ecological focus. A similar situation was observed in experience of the youth with membership in municipal committees, civil associations and civil initiatives.

Even despite low level of declared interest in municipal budget, the highest share of respondents expressed their opinion that financial and material backing of activities for the youth was insufficient. There was also a high proportion of those young people who could not provide their opinion on it. The above findings are directly influenced by the level of awareness of the rural youth about activities in their municipalities and public affairs as such. The respondents, when assessing their level of awareness, divided themselves into thirds; 31 % think it is not sufficient, 32 % found it sufficient and 28 % found it very good or good; 9 % of respondents could not assess it. In the quantitative assessment of ways how responded representatives of the rural youth collect information about municipal events, the dominant ways were passive – e.g. from municipal radio (81 %), from informal interviews with their neighbours, relatives or friends (46 %), from their friends and age peers (47 %), from municipal newspapers (21 %) or promotion leaflets (19 %), from local pub (24 %) etc. Obtaining information from local deputies was mentioned only by 6 %, from the mayor by 5 %, in the church by 7 % and 11 % respondents get it from municipal website.

Insufficient awareness is, however, the second most common reason why young people do not cooperate with local government in dealing with public affairs. The most significant reason is lack of time that obviously is related to higher mobility of young villagers, as well as everyday activities outside the municipality that is conditioned either by attending school (secondary school or university) or performance of work outside the place of permanent residence.