Next generation's fears for future

Pupils Youngsters were questioned about their views on the future

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Most 11- to 16-year-olds in England and Wales are not expecting life to be better for them than it was for their parents, research suggests.

Some 24% of the nearly 3,000 surveyed for the National Children's Bureau said their lives would be tougher than their parents'.

A further 17% said they would be the same, while 22% did not know.

But 37% said their lives would be better than their parents'.

Equal society

Start Quote

They are anxious about getting good grades and a job when they leave school, about their appearance and about their parents working too hard”

End Quote Baroness Tyler National Children's Bureau president

The results of the Ipsos/Mori survey follow a trend in earlier surveys by the company that points to a decline in expectations of social mobility:

  • Of those born 1945-65, 70% had expected better lives than their parents'
  • Of those born 1966-79, 60% had expected better lives than their parents'
  • Of those born 1980-95, 42% had expected better lives than their parents'

But there appears to be a sense of a more equal society, with some 84% of today's youngsters saying a person's background would not hold them back.

The great majority did not see ethnicity or gender preventing them getting a job and said they lived in a meritocracy, in which anyone could be a success if they tried hard enough.

Generation Next

National Children's Bureau president Baroness Tyler said: "These 11- to 16-year-olds, growing up in the context of significant economic challenges and with the proliferation of new technology, share some of the concerns of their parents' generation.

"They are anxious about getting good grades and a job when they leave school, about their appearance and about their parents working too hard.

"Many believe it will be harder for them to buy a house or get a job than it was for their parents.

"In fact, only a minority of Generation Next think life will be better for them than it was for their parents."

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