Recent research by the Youth Research Institute shows that the effects of the coronavirus epidemic continue to be felt among young people in Hungary. Apart from the lack of friendships, young people continue to see uncertainty, lack of purpose, and financial difficulties as the most pressing problems of their generation.

In the Hungarian large-sample youth survey, we regularly examined young people’s perceptions of generational problems. 15-29 year olds were asked to answer the following question: what is the most pressing problem facing young people in Hungary today? This generational perception of problems was examined in detail in our latest book, entitled Kívánj tizet! - The Generational Self-Reflection and Vision of the Future Among Young People in Hungary. The detailed analysis shows that the order of the problems young people consider important has undergone significant changes in recent decades. This is due to the fact that the importance of concrete problems such as financial difficulties or unemployment has declined, while less tangible problems such as uncertainty or lack of purpose have become more important.

The last fieldwork for the large-sample youth survey took place at the end of 2020, during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. The impact of the pandemic was reflected by the fact that a previously less prominent item in the order of the problems mentioned by young people, lack of friends and community, considered the most pressing problem of their generation by almost a tenth (8 per cent) of 15-29 year olds, came in fourth place.

Drawing on the experience of previous research, the Youth Research Institute recently carried out a survey to examine the most pressing problems young people face. The results of the representative survey of 15-29 year olds in Hungary show that uncertainty and an unpredictable future remain the most relevant problems for young people. Compared to 2020, the ranking of these problems has increased slightly - by five percentage points - and its first place has become more stable. In total, 28 percent of 15-29 year olds cited uncertainty as the most pressing problem for young people, while financial difficulties were cited by 25 percent, also slightly higher than two years ago. The intensification of uncertainty and financial difficulties can be explained in particular by the war in the neighbouring country and the economic difficulties linked to it. The impact of this was already felt last year when we examined at the issues that shape young people's thinking. A survey by the Youth Research Institute following the parliamentary elections showed that the two most important topics of discussion among young people were inflation and the war between Russia and Ukraine.

Just like two years earlier, young people in Hungary cited the lack of purpose as the third most pressing issue, with very similar proportions (12 vs. 11 percent). Earlier surveys showed similar levels of a lack of purpose, suggesting that the frustration of being out of touch is also a persistent feature of 15-29 year olds' lives.

The questionnaires recorded during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic revealed a crisis of peer groups, while the fourth most important generational problem perceived by young people was the lack of friendships and communities. The lack of friends and communities had not featured so prominently in the problem map in previous years and its emergence was clearly identified by the researchers as a consequence of the pandemic, linked to the increasing importance of face-to-face encounters. A significant proportion of young people's leisure time is mediatized, and screen-based activities have proliferated during the epidemic due to online education and home offices. Meanwhile, the structure of leisure activities has shifted towards more personal connections, leading to the conclusion that personal community has become more valued for young people, as it is highlighted as the most frequent leisure activity, and that the lack of youth community is high on the list of generational problems. A recent survey by the Youth Research Institute shows that the pandemic has not passed, with young people perceiving the lack of community as persistent.

The following problems were mentioned by less than 5 percent of young people surveyed, with the exception of the spread of drugs, alcohol and drugs-related problems, which reached 5 percent, but were mentioned slightly more often (7 percent) two years earlier. A similar decrease was recorded for crime (3 vs. 5 percent).

In 2008, one in four young people considered unemployment and difficulties finding a job to be the most pressing generational problem, meaning that it came first on the list. Since then, it has steadily declined in importance, dropping out of the top five in 2020, and according to a recent survey by the Youth Research Institute, it has further declined, with only 3 percent of 15-29 year olds now considering it the biggest problem for young people. Unemployment is losing ground, reinforcing our perception of youth's ability to respond quickly to social change. Employment and labor market activity among young people have been steadily increasing over the last decade, so it should come as no surprise that respondents feel that young people in Hungary are finding it less and less difficult to find a job.

These problems can be grouped in several ways depending on their nature. Existential challenges include, in addition to the financial and employment difficulties mentioned above, housing problems, which were mentioned by a further 3 percent of young people surveyed. Overall, a third of young people (32 percent) mentioned existential challenges. The lack of community is not only linked to problems with peer groups, but also to inadequate family relationships. Family crises and family problems were also mentioned by 3 percent of respondents, so overall, 12 percent mentioned problems related to community. A group of a similar size is the problem of deviance and runaway, which includes crime and emigration (3 and 2 percent respectively), in addition to the spread of drugs and alcohol, making it a total of 11 percent.

The most significant group of problems is frustration, whether it is the aforementioned uncertainty and lack of purpose or the less frequently mentioned lack of independence, dependence on parents (2 percent), problems with school, learning, and career progression (1 percent). Feelings of deprivation, such as not having young people's opinions taken into account (1 percent), and frustration caused by structural crises such as migration, immigration or climate change, and the poor state of the environment, were also mentioned as the most pressing generational problems by less than one percent of young people.