Only a minority of young people claim to be positive about the future of UK politics (17%) and the UK economy (20%)

An Ipsos survey for BBC Radio 1/Newsbeat has given a snapshot of young people’s lives in the UK.

The author(s)

  • Hannah Whyte-Smith Media Development
  • Nick Cook Media Development
  • Paul Maskell Media Development
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  • Only around 2 in 5 (39%) of 16-24s agree that they have enough money to live on
  • 10% of young people say they have used a food bank in the past 6 months

A BBC Radio 1 and Newsbeat survey has given a snapshot of young people’s lives in the UK. The survey covers a range of topics from social media, career goals, life aspirations, biggest concerns as well as their opinions on UK politics and the state of the economy. The survey of more than 2,000 young people aged 16-24 was carried out by Ipsos UK in September - October 2022. The survey was among internet users only.

Attitudes to Politics and the Economy

When asked about their attitudes to the UK, only a minority of young people claim to be positive about the future of: UK politics (17%), the UK economy (20%) and the environment (26%). Around half (49%) of young people feel proud to live in the UK. There is also low trust in both politicians and business leaders. 18% agree they trust business leaders to tell the truth. This is higher than trust in politicians. 12% agree they trust politicians to tell the truth.

Social Media

Daily users of different social media platforms were asked how much time, on average, they spent on each platform each day. 39% of daily TikTok users claim to spend 3 hours or more on average per day on the platform.

Worries and Concerns

The rising cost of living and inflation is a top worry for young people. When asked which areas they were worried about, over half (52%) of young people

claim to be worried about the rising cost of living and inflation. 2 in 5 (40%) claim to be worried about being financially secure and 32% of young people are worried about being able to afford to rent somewhere to live.

Considering their worry about the cost of living and inflation, young people have taken steps to save money in the past 6 months. When asked what money saving activities they had done in the past 6 months almost half (45%) said they had shopped in a different supermarket to save money. Related to groceries, 1 in 10 (10%) claim they have used a food bank in the past 6 months.

Passions and Aspirations

When asked about their biggest ambitions in life, being financially secure and having plenty of money are the two ambitions which young people say are most important. 16% say being financially secure is their biggest ambition and 11% say having plenty of money is their biggest ambition.

When asked what would make them happiest in life, 20% say having a family with kids and 13% say being in a stable relationship.

Hannah Whyte-Smith, Director at Ipsos, UK, says:

The survey uncovered a number of worries among young people. Cost of living and inflation are key concerns, so it is not surprising that financial security is a top aspiration for this age group and many are already taking action or making plans to save money.  Family and friends are an important presence when young people feel worried, but media can also play a key role in relaxation and advice, providing an important opportunity to support people through these times. It also highlighted a number of examples of positivity among young people, particularly around their personal lives, academic achievements and careers.

Aled Haydn Jones, Head of BBC Radio 1, says:

Radio 1 is about giving young people a voice and this survey shares many of their thoughts, concerns and attitudes on what it’s like to be young in the UK in 2022. I’d like to thank our partner Newsbeat for working with us and I look forward to hearing the detail broadcast across Radio 1 over the next few days.

The survey is part of Radio 1’s plans to mark the BBC’s Centenary which will also include a special broadcast of Radio 1’s Life Hacks (Sundays, 4pm – 6pm) on Sunday 23 October which will delve deeper into the survey findings with Vick Hope and Katie Thistleton hearing directly from listeners.

Technical Note

The survey was carried out online by Ipsos on behalf of the BBC. The survey was conducted among a representative quota sample of 2,719 16-24 year old internet users in the United Kingdom between 19th September 2022 and 4th October 2022. Data has been weighted by age x gender, age x social grade, region and ethnicity to the known online population profile.

The author(s)

  • Hannah Whyte-Smith Media Development
  • Nick Cook Media Development
  • Paul Maskell Media Development

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