Next Generation Goes to
the Ballot Box

Next Generation Goes to the Ballot Box:


The first Next Generation report, which was published in 2009, brought Pakistan’s young people to the centre of the debate about its future. It received extensive coverage by the media in Pakistan and internationally, and has influenced the work of governments, political parties, academics, thinks tanks, civil society and journalists, while being read widely by opinion formers from the next generation itself.

This is the first report in a new series called Next Generation Voices, which will offer new evidence on how young people – defined as between 18 and 29 years of age – are shaping Pakistan. The research will listen carefully to the opinions and beliefs of young people and use this to provide fresh insights into the opportunities of a young country, and the perils of failing to respond to the needs and aspirations of the young. This report is based on a nationally representative survey of young people, an open source consultation, academic background papers, and a review of published data and evidence. It focuses primarily on young people within the context of the 2013 election. A full methodology can be found at the back of this report. The report provides an insight into how well young people feel they have fared since the country last went to the polls. We explore what issues are most important to young people and how this will drive their voting behaviour.

This report will also explore in more detail how the next generation itself can make the political, economic and social conditions of Pakistan better for themselves – and the country as a whole.

In a second report, which will be published later in 2013, we will delve more deeply into the identity and aspirations of the next generation, and how young people are being shaped by the turbulence of the times they have grown up in. We thank all those who have contributed to this research but – above all – the young people who have shared with us their hopes and fears.

Key Findings:

  • Change is coming to Pakistan
  • It currently enjoys massive demographic opportunities
  • But Demography is not Destiny.
  • Pakistan risks growing old before it grows rich.
  • The next generation has growing social and cultural influence.
  • Young people are now deeply pessimistic.
  • Rising prices are now biggest concern for young people.
  • Young people are starved of opportunities.
  • Insecurity has hit young people hard.
  • Pakistan’s politics adds to this turbulence.
  • Young women face very high levels of exclusion.
  • A next generation middle class is emerging in Pakistan
  • Young urbanites have strong generational identity.
  • Across Pakistan, the generation speaks with one voice.
  • This is a deeply conservative generation.
  • A small set of issues will deeply influence the way young people vote.
  • Young voters could have a pivotal influence on elections.
  • Four groups of young voters are pivotal.
  • All parties must join together to defend democracy.
  • It is time for leaders to speak directly to the next generation, bring them to the polls, and convince young people they can provide them with the opportunity and security they need to build a better future for Pakistan.
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