E2 Research Studied the Thoughts of Young People in Eastern Finland: "When there are so many threats of war and nuclear issues in the air, it feels like war is what’s coming."

Less than one-fifth (17%) of young people living in Eastern Finland feel that the closure of the eastern border has negatively affected their daily lives. However, the proximity to the border frightens almost half (44%) of them. Women (49%) are more often afraid than men (39%).

Interviews reveal that the instability of the world situation and the possibility of war appear to some young people as very concrete, even personal matters. One young interviewee says:

"I've been thinking about joining the army. Because of the war, I've been thinking more seriously about whether I could actually go if I had to go to the front line. It's not even the threat of death, but the fact that you have to kill other people. You have to watch people die next to you. And you just have to keep going."

The results are revealed in the report "Conditions for a Good Life in Eastern Finland: Perspectives of Young People Under 30." The report provides new insights into the concerns and hopes of young people aged 15–29. The study is based on survey and interview data and was conducted by E2 Research.

The Majority of Young People in Eastern Finland Are Satisfied with Their Lives

Two-thirds (67%) of young people living in Eastern Finland are very or fairly satisfied with their lives and feel that their lives have a purpose (66%).

A majority (69%) of young people in Eastern Finland feel a sense of hometown love for their place of residence. However, 62% of young people consider it likely that they will move away from their current hometown. Interviewed youths report that moving for work or education is necessary due to limited options.

As many as 59% of young people consider it likely that they would return if they ended up moving away from their current region. One young interviewee says:

"I have this dream that if life finally goes the way I want and the cards fall right, I would go somewhere to get a profession and then come back here for the rest of my life."

Coping and Livelihood Are Also Concerns for Young People in Eastern Finland, Young Women Stand Out

Young people in Eastern Finland are particularly concerned about their own coping and financial difficulties. The same top concerns are repeated among young people across Finland.

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of young women are worried about their coping and well-being, compared to one-third (33%) of young men. Financial difficulties also worry young women (55%) significantly more often than men (34%).

Half (51%) of young men are concerned about not finding a partner in their hometown. About a third (35%) of young women share this concern. Additionally, loneliness is one of the top concerns for young men.

The Majority Believe in a Bright Future for Eastern Finland – Green Transition Expected to Bring Jobs

Nearly two-thirds (61%) think the region has a bright future despite negative publicity about Eastern Finland. A majority (62%) believe that investing in climate solutions in industry and public investments is a significant opportunity for Eastern Finland.

Just under a third (32%) consider agriculture and forestry as interesting career options. Interviewed youths believe that the green transition can create new jobs in Eastern Finland. Some feel that the region's unique characteristics have not been sufficiently considered in promoting the green transition:

"The green transition is good, but if they try to push electric cars on low-income people, for example, I can't afford an electric car. And here, the distances are quite long, so a car is a necessary means of transportation. Then when they keep raising prices, it doesn't really appeal."

Taking Care of Eastern Finland is a Shared Responsibility According to Young People

Eighty-one per cent of young people think it is the government's responsibility to take care of Eastern Finland's vitality. On the other hand, 71% believe that maintaining vitality is equally the task of local people and businesses.

Slightly over half (54%) of young people feel that politicians have forgotten Eastern Finland when distributing funds for the development of different parts of the country. Interviews suggest that regional inequality clouds young people's perceptions of societal fairness. Young people believe there is much in Eastern Finland worth preserving, as one of them describes:

"Safety, I am grateful for that. Here I can walk anywhere in the middle of the night, and I don't have to be afraid of anything."


The study is based on two survey datasets. The survey conducted between February 29, 2024, and April 1, 2024, received responses from 381 young people aged 15–29, primarily residing in North or South Karelia and Kainuu. A nationwide survey representing Finnish youth aged 15–29 (N=1021) was collected in November 2023. Additionally, the report utilizes group interviews with 26 young people under 30 from Eastern Finland. One interview group consisted of international students from the region. The interviews were conducted between December 2023 and March 2024.

The report, “Conditions for a Good Life in Eastern Finland: Perspectives of Young Adults Under 30,” was authored by specialist Eija Eronen, M.Soc.Sc., specialist Tuija Väyrynen, M.Soc.Sc., research assistant Arttu Manninen, B.Soc.Sc., research manager Ville Pitkänen, DSocSci, and director Jenni Simonen, DSocSci, from E2 Research. The report was produced as part of the project "Youth as Future Makers of Eastern Finland." The multidisciplinary research institute E2 Research was responsible for implementing the work. The study was funded by the Regional Council of Kainuu, The Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK) and Palkansaajasäätiö.

The report's publication event will be held at E2 Research's office and online on June 5, 2024, at 10:00 AM.

For more information about the program and registration (In Finnish): Click here

Link to the report (in Finnish):