Global Perceptions: How 18–34-year-olds see the UK and the world

Research conducted by Ipsos on behalf of the British Council finds that the UK remains an attractive country for young people across the G20. However, Italy just edges the UK as the most attractive country in the G20 by one percentage point.

The author(s)
  • Alex Baumont de Oliveira Public Affairs
  • Bridget Williams Public Affairs
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Between 8 June and 24 July 2023 Ipsos undertook a survey of 19,601 18–34-year-olds with a minimum of secondary education in 18 of the countries in the G20. This was the sixth wave of research conducted among this audience by Ipsos for the British Council.

In 2023, the UK is the second most attractive country in the G20 (second to Italy by one percentage point). More than three quarters find the UK attractive (76%), and the UK’s overall attractiveness score has grown by 5 percentage points since spring 2016. The competition for the most attractive country is tight - only 6 percentage points separate the top eight countries. But there is a substantial difference between the attractiveness ratings of the top eight countries (rated between 77% and 71%) and those in the bottom eleven (rated between 59% and 40%).

Italy has just edged the UK as the most attractive country in the G20.  Three quarters find the UK attractive:  in a leading pack with Italy, Canada, Japan, France and USA

As in previous years, the UK’s attractiveness is more than the sum of its parts. It does not rank first for the most attractive source of arts and culture, a place to do business, or as a place to visit. Where the UK does stand out is as a place to study. The UK ranks second to the US as the most attractive place to study.

Interaction with a country is important for its reputation. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, the proportion of young people in the G20 who have experienced the UK’s arts and culture or visited the UK has not recovered to pre-pandemic levels.  This downward trend is not unique to the UK. It suggests that the longer-term impacts of Covid, combined with the cost-of-living crisis globally, are impacting young people’s ability and intention to travel.

The proportions who say they have experienced UK art and culture or who have visited the UK have still not recovered to pre-Covid proportions, though the downward trend for visiting shows signs of reversing

However, trust in the UK’s institutions, people and government remains high. The UK is ranked first for trust in institutions, second for trust in people (behind Canada) and second for trust in government (also behind Canada).

The UK’s scores for trust in people, government and institutions remain stable

Technical note

  • 19,601 interviews were conducted with 18–34-year-olds with a minimum of secondary education in the G20 countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom and the USA).
  • In 2023, no fieldwork was conducted in Russia (unlike in the previous iterations of the project). An analysis was undertaken to understand the impact of excluding Russian participants on tracking data.  The analysis found minimal differences in 2021 G20 data comparing results with and without Russian participants. Regardless, caution should be exercised when reviewing trends.
  • Interviews conducted from 8 June to 24 July 2023.
  • Within each country quotas were set on gender and age, region and the balance of urban/rural areas.
  • Data have been weighted for each individual country to the known offline population proportions by age within gender. Each country has been given equal weighting within the G20 dataset.
The author(s)
  • Alex Baumont de Oliveira Public Affairs
  • Bridget Williams Public Affairs

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