No. 48



Life-course of Young People Is Reflected*

14 December 2023


RiTo No. 48, 2023

  • Andu Rämmer

    Andu Rämmer

    PhD, Associate Professor of Youth Studies, Division of Social Studies, University of Tartu Narva College

Researchers have paid particular attention to the study of young people’s values, as a person’s value system is formed through socialisation into their everyday living environment and wider society.

This article is based on the analysis of the data of three surveys – European Value Study 2018, Baltic Countries Youth Study 2021 and Estonian Students’ Value Survey 2023.

The geographical identity of Baltic young people has been shaped by contacts with different cultural influences. In both Estonia and Latvia, the number of those who considered themselves North European was higher among the respondents in the national language than among the Russian-speaking respondents. Among Russian-speaking young Latvians, there were significantly more respondents who identified themselves with East Europe than among Latvian-speaking respondents, but in Estonia there were no such differences by respondent language.

The highest number of people who attached importance to material values was found in Russia, and the lowest in the Scandinavian welfare states of Finland and Sweden. Although the differences in the views of the Estonian-speaking and Russian-speaking respondents in Estonia were not great, there were more post-materialists among the Estonian-speaking respondents.

For young people in Estonia, the most desired goals in the transition to adulthood were becoming independent and taking responsibility as well as having a successful career. Eating healthily and exercising were also considered important.  Russian-speaking young people valued having children as well as marriage and material well-being more highly than Estonian-speaking respondents.

In addition to professional education, social capital (acquaintances for Estonian-speaking respondents and belonging to the right political party for Russian-speaking respondents) was considered important in finding a job.

The most trustworthy institutions for young people in Estonia were power agencies and international organisations. Russian-speaking young people living in Estonia felt better integrated into society than Russian-speaking young people in Latvia.

* Peer-reviewed article