Research Report from the Intergenerational Foundation, available now.
- The Intergenerational Foundation (IF) was established in February 2011 to promote fairness between generations. Our work involves conducting research and educating decision makers, opinion formers, the media and the public of the rights of younger and future generations to be treated more fairly by policy makers and society as a whole.
- IF wanted to benchmark intergenerational attitudes in the UK compared with other countries.
- The research analysed the latest European Social Survey (ess.nsd.uib.no), which undertakes a biennial survey of social attitudes across 29 countries (including the former Communist bloc countries) with just under 57,000 respondents.
- A range of questions was asked which IF believes have serious intergenerational implications:
- British people in their 20s achieved the lowest scores of any country in relation to being viewed with respect.
- British people in their 20s came near-bottom for being friendly, competent, viewed with admiration and having high moral standards.
- In terms of contempt, British people in their 20s came first and in terms of pity, British people in their 20s came third.
- When asked to rate overall how positively or negatively people felt towards those in their 20s, respondents from the UK gave its younger people the lowest score of any country, coming 29th out of 29 countries.
- However the economic contribution of British young people in their 20s was recognised with the UK coming 13th out of the 29 countries surveyed.
- The contrast between the low esteem that British people in their 20s are held in the UK compared to those aged over 70 years was also striking. The scores for those aged over 70 were in line with the average across all the countries surveyed.
(The scores are summarised in the Background section of this document).
- There seems to be a current imbalance in intergenerational relations in the UK, with British younger people perceived in a much worse light than their continental counterparts.
- IF believes a national debate is required on the obligations different generations owe each other.
- At a time when so called ‘baby boomers’ are striking and campaigning for pension rights, welfare, health and social care needs, younger generations are having to deal with high unemployment, increasing part-time work, high rents, unaffordable housing, increased tuition fees as well as a societal perception that they are not valued.
- The Intergenerational Foundation believes we owe young British people in their 20s a greater degree of respect and gratitude and a fairer future as they are society’s future taxpayers and pension, health and social-care providers after all.