Children's views on government and politics

UNICEF/HQ97-0782/ SENAD GUBELIC
A girld attend a school for displaced children in the town of Zugdidi, Georgia.

Some (15%) children feel their opinion is taken into account by their local government but many (61%) think their views are either not sufficiently taken into account or not considered at all. A quarter of the children say they do not know whether or not local government considers their opinions when makingdecisions.

Children would like to be consulted more by their local government on decisions regarding leisure time activities and facilities, education/school and environmental issues. Across all countries polled, children would like their national governments to address educational/school problems (43%), cultural/sports/leisure time activities (42%), social issues/more benefits (33%) and improving living conditions (23%).

Living conditions is significantly more important to children in the CEE/CIS and Baltic States (29%) than those in Western Europe (11%), as well as to younger children and those from lower socio-economic groups.

Fifteen per cent state they would like their government to guarantee more respect for children, particularly in former Yugoslavia as well as the Caucasus, where one in four children stress this issue.

Less than half (40%) of children believe that voting in elections is an effective tool for improving things in their countries (as high as 50% in Western Europe and EU candidate countries), but 16% believe that elections are ineffective (particularly in transition countries within Western CIS and the Caucasus). One third of children living in Central Asia have no opinion on the effectiveness of voting, as compared to an average of one fifth across all countries polled. Children from urban areas and those from smaller families are most sceptical when it comes to the question of voting in elections.

Click below to view the responses to the questions related to this issue:

• Is my opinion taken into account by local government?(by detailed region) [view]
• Is my opinion taken into account by local government?
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group
• I would like to be consulted on…(by region) [view]
• I would like my government to improve…(by region) [view]
• Voting in elections is…(by region) [view]
• Voting in elections is...
(by gender, age, area, EU accession or socio-economic group

This information is provided as a contribution to discussion on important issues affecting children. UNICEF Regional offices conducted the polls, analysis and interpretations of the findings. For more information, please contact the regional poll contact person directly.

About the survey
How happy children are
How children feel at home
How children feel at school
How children feel in today's society
How safe children feel
Children and harmful or illegal substances
How informed children are
Children's views on government and politics
How children see the future