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CBC readers under 30 weigh in on big questions

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As part of our Generation Why collaborative magazine project, we asked Canadians under 30 to tell us which questions they would like to see discussed more often in the mainstream media.

Over 100 questions were added to the social poll we posted last week, and collectively the questions garnered over 100,000 responses.

We must qualify that this was not a scientific poll, and that some questions were answered by thousands, while other were only answered by a handful.

Nevertheless, we found the results interesting and wanted to offer you a chance to explore them, too.

Please scroll down to see a selection of results, and join us at 7 p.m. ET on Thursday to discuss these questions in an online open forum.

Note: If you'd like to see how many people voted on any particular question, or how the under 30 crowd stacked up against those older than them, click on the links associated with each result for a complete breakdown.

Societal issues and Politics


One of the themes we noticed when reviewing the results was youth disillusionment with "big P" Politics -- that is, the institutions of federal, provincial and municipal government.

But if their interest in the wide variety of causes and societal issues they champion for is any indication, most of the young people who took our poll are in fact political -- "small p" political.

  • 87 per cent agreed that the 'First-Past-the-Post' electoral system should be replaced with a form of Proportional Representation
  • 86 per cent said Canada is lagging behind the rest of the world in building effective transportation systems
  • 83 per cent said that partisan bickering by elected officials is a major source of political apathy
  • 84 per cent said that in its focus on the economy, the government is neglecting important social, educational, or medical issues
  • 82 per cent said they are very concerned about social justice issues inside Canada and around the world
  • 81 per cent said that marijuana should be legal for adults
  • 79 per cent did not believe that their generation has a meaningful voice in the political process
  • 79 per cent said that tuition fees are too high
  • 70 per cent said they believe democracy in Canada is in trouble
  • 69 per cent said addressing climate change should be top priority for governments around the world

One reader from Fredericton, who identified herself as a young Canadian, offered the following perspective in the comment thread.

"Speaking as a member of Generation Y, most of us are not apathetic at all. We just do our activism outside of the political framework in this country because we feel that the parties view us as a small minority that can be safely ignored . . .

You want to know how to engage Generation Y? Interact with us minus condescension and superiority. Ask us for input and actually listen to it. Don't cow-tow to us all the time, but freakin heck, at least take our concerns into account rather than telling us over and over that there's no alternative but sitting down, shutting up and that we'll understand when we're older."  - nscangal

Beliefs and opinions


Of those polled who said they were under the age of 30, most (68 per cent) said they don't believe in God, compared to just over half (54 per cent) of those aged 30 or older.

Here are some interesting results from the under 30 set in the category of beliefs and opinions:

  • A whopping 96 per cent said young Canadians are not as religious as their parents
  • 86 per cent said that they're worried that they are being "saturated with entertainment news" that displaces important world events, and 86 per cent also believed that Canada needs more independent media
  • 80 per cent said that although Canada is considered multicultural, it can still can be quite racist and discriminatory
  • 76 per cent said their generation cares too much about popular culture and now enough about real issues 
  • 77 per cent said that Canada has become more Americanized in the past decade
  • 63 per cent said they do not believe they are the "entitled generation" (compared to 52 per cent of respondents 30 or older who said, actually, yes they are)
  • 71 per cent predicted that there will not be Old Age Security by the time they retire
  • 66 per cent did not believe the world would be a better place by the time they retire

Career related questions


When it came to questions of employment and education, respondents under the age of 30 indicated the following:

  • 71 per cent believe it makes sense to go back to school if you can't find work
  • 78 per cent believe the 30 year career is dead
  • 92 per cent do not believe that a university degree, excluding professional degrees like engineering, will secure a job
  • 79 per cent said they worry about the rise of contract work and the loss of careers

Habit and lifestyle questions


It was a close one, but the majority of young Canadians who answered the question above said that they do not work a 40 hour work week.

  • 90 per cent said they get most of their news through social media
  • 86 per cent said they regularly visit news sites
  • 50 per cent said they still read physical newspapers
  • 64 per cent said they have or would study abroad
  • 61 per cent said they do not have cable TV
  • 51 per cent do not believe it's impossible to own a home before 30

  • Below you will find the full list of reader submitted questions.

    Change the results above by weighing in, add your own questions, or join us Thursday at 7 p.m. ET to discuss the results in an online open forum.

    Questions you'd like to see in the news?

    Tags: Canada, Community

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