SINUS Youth Milieus

To subject
To subject

SINUS-Institut has studied young people’s lifeworlds for nearly four decades, and since 2008 has produced comprehensive publications on the state of German youth: the How Do Young Germans Tick? series (2008, 2012, 2016). These studies capture and modally represent the tremendous sociocultural diversity and high degree of individualisation that characterises youth in developed countries. As in our other milieu research, the Youth Milieus approach groups young people who are similar in their values, basic orientation to life and lifestyle, and social position. This yielded uniquely granular findings that have been praised by leading scholars in the field – for instance, Prof. Dr. Klaus Hurrelmann, longtime head of the Shell Youth Study: 

“[The SINUS Youth Studies] have now become a trademark, and stand next to the Shell Youth Study, the McDonald’s Job Training Study and the Children and Youth Reports as an example of systematic and substantial research into the life situation of young people in Germany. The sensitive research conducted by the researchers of the SINUS-Institut is classified and interpreted with professionalism, and is of great value to public understanding of the younger generation.”

One special characteristic of the SINUS Youth Studies are their utilisation of thick qualitative description of young peoples’ diverse lifeworlds. Numerous direct quotes and creative testimonials of respondents, as well as photographs of their living environments, provide vivid insight into their everyday lives, values horizons, and aesthetic preferences. The studies therefore provide a practical basis for decision-making in strategic target group work.

Every four years, new research questions are devised and new fieldwork conducted. The most recent published study (2016) focuses on crucial topics such as digital media and education, mobility, environmental protection, climate change, conscious and sustainable consumption, love and partnership, religion and beliefs, historical consciousness, and concepts of nation and national identity, as well as migration and asylum. The study is available via Open Access on SpringerLink, and has been downloaded by over 290,000 unique users as of early 2018.

A further study in this series, focusing on young refugees, is currently underway. 

In addition to the core Youth Studies, SINUS has carried out numerous in-depth studies on different youth-relevant topics including media usage, trust and security on the internet, job orientation, and social engagement. Most of these studies have taken the SINUS segmentation of youth lifeworlds into account. The segmentation captures the vast socio-cultural diversity of young people typical of highly developed societies and consolidates it into a model. As in the other SINUS Milieu models, this approach groups together youngsters who are similar in terms of their values, basic attitudes, ways of life, and social position.

Ministries, companies, and NGOs regularly invite SINUS consultants to give talks and hold workshops on youth lifeworlds (around 120 events each year). If you are interested in arranging this kind of event, SINUS:akademie will be happy to provide details.

Your contact for the SINUS Youth Milieus:

Dr. Marc Calmbach, Direktor Sozialforschung
E-Mail: marc.calmbach(at)
Telefon: +49 30-206 13098 11