UK Young the “Least Respected” across 29 Countries

PRESS RELEASE 8 August 2011

UK Young the “Least Respected” across 29 Countries

New research by the recently established Intergenerational Foundation reveals that young people in the UK (those in their twenties) are the least respected of any young people across 29 countries sampled, including the former Communist bloc.

The research, which involved analysing the latest European Social Survey data available, drew on the responses of approximately 57,000 people across 29 countries to a range of questions in order to gauge how different generations are perceived.

Whilst the United Kingdom scores for questions about older people were broadly in line with the European average, responses to questions about attitudes towards younger people consistently placed the UK at the bottom of the league table:

Viewing those in their 20s as:

UK Average Score

European Average Score

UK Ranking (out of 29 countries)

Having high moral standards

1.56

1.87

27

Being friendly

2.02

2.34

28

Being competent

2.10

2.31

25

Being respected

1.66

2.06

29

When interviewees were also asked “Overall how negative or positive do you feel towards people in their 20s”, again the UK came 29th out of 29 countries.

Furthermore, questions regarding “admiration” (UK ranked 26th), “contempt” (UK ranked 1st) and interestingly “pity” (UK ranked 3rd) consistently demonstrate that the UK’s younger generation is perceived in a much worse light than continental counterparts.

The Intergenerational Foundation commissioned the analysis to try to gauge the current state of intergenerational relations in the UK and it makes bleak reading.

The Intergenerational Foundation expected to see the UK faring less well than say Catholic countries, but was shocked to see British young people scoring consistently low scores. Ironically, in spite of these low levels of respect or admiration, the contribution that British young people make economically is better recognised. Young people in the UK come 13th out of the 29 countries surveyed in terms of providing a positive influence to the economy.

Jeremy Leach, Senior Researcher commented, “Our analysis seems to suggest that in spite of younger people being perceived to contribute very well financially to the UK, they are still viewed negatively.”

Angus Hanton, Co-Founder added, “There seems to be an imbalance in intergenerational relations in the UK at the moment. Older generations are protecting their pension rights, welfare, health and social care needs as our population ages, whilst younger generations are working harder and longer, with less job stability, but still not valued enough by our society.

“We baby boomers need to value our younger generations more. We are making them pay for university, we now have 1 million under 25 year-olds without employment, they also have to contend with paying record levels of rent and are unable to afford to buy a house or a flat and we are also asking them to fund our old ages as we live longer.

“We owe our young people more than debts from pensions and long-term elderly care: we owe them a greater degree of respect, gratitude and a fairer future.”

- Ends -

 

Note to Editors:

The Intergenerational Foundation exists to promote the interests of younger and future generations in government policy making.

A Fact Sheet on Intergenerational statistics is attached.

Jeremy Leach, researcher, will be available for interview on Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th August 2011.

Please contact Liz Emerson on mobile: 07971 228823 or liz@if.org.uk for further press information or to arrange an interview.