New polling of young people (16-25 year olds) and parents from UK Youth has raised serious concerns over the impact of the cost of living crisis on young people’s mental health, employment opportunities – and even access to regular meals.
There is growing evidence of long-term effects, with more than half of young people (54%) surveyed saying their mental health has been negatively impacted by the cost of living crisis. Likewise, a shocking three quarters of young people (76%) are concerned the crisis will restrict their ability to get a secure job now and in the future – with just 4% of young people having no concerns at all.
The polling, conducted by research company Censuswide, also reveals a number of additional concerns for young people about loneliness, heating their homes and access to food:
- Almost half of young people (45%) say the cost of living crisis is having an impact on their ability to heat their homes
- Over a third (36%) say they are more lonely as they reduce their social life to save money
- One in five (20%) say their access to regular meals has been negatively impacted
Amongst both parents and young people, there is widespread concern that the government is not doing enough for young people through the cost of living crisis – with consistent backing for youth work as a measure to support them in the current economic climate:
- Six in 10 parents (59%) believe the government is not doing enough, while half of young people (50%) feel the same.
- Nearly three quarters of parents (73%) believe better or increased access to youth work would help their child aspects of their life affected by the cost of living crisis – while half of young people (48%) believe it would benefit their mental health and three in 10 (30%) young people believe it would improve their employment opportunities.
Evidence of public support for youth work comes after UK Youth and Pears Foundation launched a new £5m grant support fund in February to support youth organisations through the cost of living crisis – benefiting thousands of young people across the country.
The fund aims to ensure as many vital youth services as possible are able to keep supporting young people in their local communities, at a time when youth organisations are facing a perfect storm of threats caused by the cost of living crisis.
A separate UK Youth survey** found two thirds of youth organisations (63%) are seeing increased demand for services from young people, with a similar figure (67%) facing increased operating costs, at the same time as more than half are seeing a decrease in funding (51%) and a drop in staff wellbeing (53%).
With clear public backing for investment in young people and youth work, UK Youth is urging the government – together with local councils, businesses and community funders – to guarantee quality youth work provision for all.
Ndidi Okezie OBE, Chief Executive of UK Youth, said:
“These figures must be a wake-up call for our country – our young people are struggling in the face of the cost of living crisis and they need help. Parents and carers are rightly concerned and are having to make difficult personal sacrifices to survive. Youth organisations, who provide essential support to young people, are also on their knees. The situation cannot be allowed to continue as it is.
“There is overwhelming public support for greater investment into young people. Funding to ensure quality youth services are accessible in all local areas is an untapped way to do that. Giving our young people what they need to navigate these challenging times is not just the right moral choice – it’s the sound economic decision for our country.
“If we fail an entire generation of children and young people, we ultimately fail the future of our society. Politicians, funders, businesses – everyone must play their part. ”
* Polling of 1,012 young people, aged 16-25 years old, as well as polling of 1,011 parents of young people, aged 11-25 years old, was conducted by Censuswide on 16th-17th March 2023. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society and follows the MRS code of conduct which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
All ‘concerned’ data is a net figure combining ‘very’ and ‘quite’, all ‘agreed’ and ‘disagreed’ data is a net figure combining ‘strongly’ and ‘somewhat’. Detailed results available upon request.
** A survey of 331 youth organisations was conducted by UK Youth in March 2023. Detailed results available upon request.
Click here see how you can help UK Youth support youth organisations and young people through the cost of living crisis.
To request our full media release, please contact the UK Youth press office at firstname.lastname@example.org