Addressing young people’s marginalisation within the democratic process

We know that population ageing will lead to the under-representation of young people within the democratic process. That representative democracies with mass franchises have only ever existed within populations with pyramid-shaped age distributions may be one of the hidden foundations of representative democracy. An ageing society, however, equals an ageing electorate – meaning that the people who will be affected for longest by the outcomes of the democratic process will have less say relative to people closer to the end of their lives. It is vital, therefore, that we find ways to ensure that young people are heard.

Generally speaking there are two main ways this can be achieved, although adopting one strategy does not preclude also introducing mechanisms based on the other.

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