Youth research
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Along with the changes in the Latvian society the «youth issue» goes through transformations as well. The «youth issue» includes wider society's and government's views of how young people integrate in the society. On one hand the question is whether the process is positive for young people themselves; on the other — whether dangers for the order in society are produced by youth deviant behaviour or not. The perspective on the «youth issue» may differ depending on the role devoted to young people: if the emphasis is on societal structures then the attention is towards inclusion of youth in society; if, however, the emphasis is on individuals then the focus is on how young people themselves find their ways of inclusion and solve their everyday problems.

Research staff

Organised conferences

Main publications


In Latvia, significant part of youth research efforts is related to the Latvian Academy of Science, since 1998 — Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, University of Latvia. Youth research has been carried out for more than 20 years by now and form one of the research directions of the Institute. One of the most important projects that were implemented in Latvia at the institute between 1983 and 1998 is the international longitudinal survey «Paths of a Generation,» it made a significant contribution to future developments in youth research.

1980s – early 1990s

The research project «Paths of a Generation» is a part of an international project with the same title that was launched in early 1980s. Professor Mikk Titma from the Philosophy and Sociology department of the Estonian Academy of Science developed a research programme and encouraged scientists from Soviet republics to take part in the project. He also remained the project leader through all stages. One of the main objectives of the research was to follow the process of integration of young people in adult life (transition from youth to adulthood that was reflected in such spheres as education, work, and family) in different regions of USSR. The first phase of the project was implemented in 1983 in 15 regions, in total 41,919 high-school graduates were surveyed. Within the study it was planned to focus on those who were born between 1965 and 1967 and achieved the high-school education level by 1983. The second stage of the project was implemented in 1988–1990 when 26,750 young people were questioned, the third stage — in 1992–1993 with 18 000 respondents in nine independent states that were established after the collapse of USSR. The fourth round of the research project was completed in 1998. The full cycle of longitudinal research was implemented in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Belarus, Yekaterinburg district in Russia, Tajikistan and Kharkov district in the Ukraine.

The third and fourth stages of the project mark the turn not only within the project itself but also in the history of youth research. First, both waves have been carried out in newly independent states. Second, the beginning of the 1990s marks a completely new period in the development of sociological research. Introduction of personal computers significantly changed work of sociologists. Third, the methodology of the project and its comparative nature suggested the use of contemporary work methods. Since 1992 between the stages of the project there were organized international educational seminars with participation of world-class scientists, project staff underwent internships in number of universities and research institutes (Tartu, Tallinn, Vilnius, Kiev, Moscow, Minsk, and several American universities). Finally, project's high methodological standards led to necessity of significant improvement of fieldwork coordinators' and interviewers' skills.

Overall, the involvement in the project «Path of a Generation» stimulated youth sociologists in Latvia to broaden the range of their efforts from those focused mainly on applied research to more academic ones.

Mid 1990s

In the middle of the 1990s youth research at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology was highly influenced by projects supported by Ministry of Education and Science. In 1995 there was conducted a survey «Attitudes of students towards student loans and introduction of paid education,» in 1996 higher education students were surveyed within the project «Conditions of students' life.»

In the second half of the nineties children and young people outside education system became an urgent topic. With the abolition of mandatory high school education, and the increase of poor population, more and more youngsters never started attending schools, or left without achieving at least basic education. These problems were analysed in the survey «Children and youth in and out of education system» (1997).

Analysis of situation in 1990s led sociologists to the idea of conducting representative youth surveys every five years and thus building a database for youth researchers. Even though the idea was not implemented in the very exact way, researches from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology continued their work on monitoring different spheres of youngsters’ lives for more than 20 years.

The first large-scale youth research project after the completion of aforementioned longitudinal study was carried out in two stages: «Youth in Latvia: opinions, values, attitudes» (1997) and «Opinions, attitudes, values and orientations of young people in vocational education» (1998). Extensive analysis of data from these projects was published in the book «Sociological portrait of Latvian youth» (I. Koroļeva, R. Rungule, S. Sebre, I. Trapenciere 1999). The object of these studies were high school graduates, i.e. pupils who were expected to graduate in 1997 and 1999, an additional target group was comprised of those in the 9th grade at the time. The aims of the study were to provide a comprehensive picture of youth in Latvia, to identify social position of young people, describe their life conditions, choices of education paths, place in labour market, entertainment options and preferences, values and orientation, social activity, participation in formal and informal organizations, future plans etc.

In 1996 the group of researchers from Institute of Philosophy and Sociology organized the first youth researchers seminar, but in 1998 in collaboration with Ministry of Education and Science — a conference «Youth in Latvia.»


The 21st century brought new range of problems to researchers’ attention. Much more attention is paid to problems of substances and processes addictions. Along with widening of material differentiation and stratification in the society, analysis of social inclusion and mechanisms of exclusion become topical issue. This is the period when significant studies of youth employment were carried out. Several research studies, supported by local municipalities, have been organized in different regions of Latvia.

In the beginning of the 2000s, several young researchers have joined youth research efforts, among them: Sigita Sniķere, Inta Mieriņa, Ieva Kārkliņa, Māris Goldmanis, Mārcis Trapencieris, Aleksandrs Aleksandrovs and others.

Life quality by its various measurement aspects covers many youth research topics. The international comparative study «Eurostudent,» which focuses on the social and living conditions of students in the number of European countries, was carried out in Latvia twice by the group of researchers from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology (I. Trapenciere, I. Koroleva, R. Rungule, S. Sniķere, M. Trapencieris). Latvian Ministry of Education and Science financially supported both rounds in 2003–2005 and 2006–2008. In 2003, more than 20,000 students in Europe participated in the survey. In 2013, the Institute successfully implemented the fifth round of «Eurostudent» survey under the supervision of I. Koroleva and A. Aleksandrovs.

In 2006, an invitation to join a comparative study of East European youth was received from Mannheim University, and was accepted by I. Trapenciere. The aim of the project was to analyse the situation of youth in ten new member states in terms of education, labour market and changes since regaining of independence.

Since 2006, sociologists from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology took part in international research projects that focused on young people in out-of-family care: «Risk of Social Exclusion for Out-of Family Children and Young People in Public Childcare» (led by Italian NGO «Amici dei Bambini,» Italy, 2006–2007) and «Social Inclusion for Out-of Family Children and Young People in Public Childcare» (led by research centre «Sinergia,» Italy 2008–2009). In both studies five countries had participated (Bulgaria, France, Italy, Latvia and Romania). The Project in 2008–2009 was funded by the EU Programme «Progress».

Since 1996, Latvia is represented in the Youth research committee within the Youth Directorate of the Council of Europe by the Institute’s researchers I. Trapenciere and S. Sniķere. Later it was reorganized into two new structures — EKCYP and Youth Research Network.

In 2015, a comparative research project «Rural Depopulation and the Governance of Education» was launched in cooperation with Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research.


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Research staff

  • Ilze Koroļeva, Dr. sc. soc. 
  • Inta Mieriņa, Dr. sc. soc.
  • Ritma Rungule, Dr. sc. soc. 
  • Ieva Kārkliņa, Dr. sc. soc.
  • Aleksandrs Aleksandrovs, Mg. sc. soc. 
  • Ilze Trapenciere, Mg. art.
  • Sigita Sniķere, Mg. sc. soc. 
  • Māris Goldmanis, Ph.D.


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Organised conferences

In 2001, I. Trapenciere, I. Koroļeva, R. Rungule organized an international conference «IT Century: Young People and Social Change.» Successful collaboration with the leading European youth researchers, as well as Youth research committee (RC34) in International Sociological association and it’s President (until 2003) Helena Helve, resulted in Latvian sociologists giving lectures at the summer school held by NYRIS and Nordic Youth Research Network, while several students attended doctoral seminars in Finland (2004). Finally, a session of the summer school was organized in Riga in 2005; doctoral students from eight countries attended the event, including those from Latvia.

In 2012, the team of youth sociologists organised a successful international multidisciplinary conference «Youth in Latvia, Europe, World: Opportunities and Risks» which gathered together youth researchers, policy makers, youth workers and young people themselves. 


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Main publications


Ilze Koroļeva, Inta Mieriņa, Ritma Rungule (2014). Profesiju prestižs un izvēle jauniešu vidū: divu paaudžu salīdzinājums [Occupational Prestige and Professional Choices of Youth: a Comparison of Two Cohorts ]. Rīga: Latvijas Universitāte.

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Ilze Koroļeva, Aleksandrs Aleksandrovs, Ilze Trapenciere, Ritma Rungule, Mārcis Trapencieris, Mārtiņš Jankovskis (2013). Studentu sociālie un ekonomiskie dzīves apstākļi Latvijā [Social and Economic Conditions of Student Life in Latvia]. Rīga: LUFSI. 

Read this publication (in Latvian)

Eurostudent V — Latvijas pētījuma rezultātu pārskats

R. Rungule (Ed.), I. Koroļeva, I. Trapenciere, I. Kārkliņa, M. Goldmanis, I. Mieriņa, S. Sniķere, A. Aleksandrovs, M. Trapencieris, S. Seņkāne (2009). Latvijas jaunatnes portrets. [A Portrait of Latvian Youth Today: Integration in Society and Marginalization Risks]. Riga: LUFSI. 

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Krūmiņš J., Goša Z., Bāliņa S., Rungule R., Trapenciere I., Seņkāne S., Koroļeva I., Mieriņa I. et al. (2007). Professional Activities of Graduates of Higher and Vocational Education Institutions. Rīga: LU, LU FSI, SIA Baltkonsults.

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The Latvian School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Research results

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Koroļeva I., Rungule R., Sniķere S., Trapenciere I., Aleksandrovs A. (2005). Youth Identity Formation and Participation. Riga: LUFSI.

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I. Koroļeva, R. Rungule, S. Sebre, I. Trapenciere (1999). A Portrait of Latvian Youth Today. Riga: LUFSI.


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Added: 22.03.2013     Last changes: 02.11.2015
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