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UK teens feel they will have worse lives than their parents

A survey conducted by YouGov charity Bernardo’s paints a bleak picture of the growing cynicism among UK teens regarding their future prosperity and happiness.

British teenagers believe their generation will have a worse life than their parents. Cue the boomer brigade and further talk of histrionic ‘pity party’ nonsense. Yawn.

Inflation, the job market, and the climate crisis were named among the prime concerns of 1,000 UK teens aged between 14 and 17, during a survey conducted by YouGov charity Bernardo’s.

Asked to picture their lives at the age of 30, 55% of participants stated a belief that their life will be worse than previous cohorts. A further 30% said that the next generation of children’s lives will not be any better, and 9% said they felt ‘hopeless’ about their future.

Lynn Perry, the chief executive of Bernardo’s asserts that the results are a sad indictment of the nation’s leadership and signal that ‘the social contract is broken’ between older and younger generations. ‘We’re at risk of failing the next generation,’ she says.

Money worry was a recurring theme, with 19% believing it will significantly blight their future. Unable to envision having any semblance of financial security by age 30, a further 10% said they feel powerless to alter the situation in the coming decade and beyond.

Undeniably troubling as the results are, to anyone considered Gen Z or younger, they likely won’t come as a surprise.

Fraught by a ceaseless cost of living crisis, the seemingly unfixable mess that is the housing market, and stifling tax rates, teenagers can’t seem to find much room for baseless optimism.

Fraught by a ceaseless cost of living crisis, the seemingly unfixable mess that is the housing market, and stifling tax rates, teenagers can’t find much room for baseless optimism.

Previous studies show that 34% of Gen Z don’t believe they’ll ever own their own home, let alone save up the 19% property purchase price required for a deposit. It’s not defeatist to recognise that we’re being stifled every step of the way.

‘We know that to be especially true for children from disadvantaged backgrounds,’ says Perry, who claims that charity forecasts point to circumstances getting even tougher as more young people go into care and access to higher education diminishes.

‘None of this is of their making but it’s just not right that children are left to dread the years ahead instead of feeling excited about their future,’ she stated.

Beyond domestic concerns, the existential threat of climate change is always looming as reflected in yet another survey.

Aside from the novel efforts of eco activists and NGOs, we’re all but destined to reap the consequences of actions we didn’t even take as a generation.

Trying to keep nihilism at bay despite witnessing empty posturing at climate summits, constant corporate greenwashing, and the weekly doom and gloom of the tabloids is frankly exhausting.

‘How many-million microplastics have you unknowingly consumed today’ is our new favourite pastime.

A stark difference of values both economically and ecologically is ultimately where this feeling of disconnect between generations continues to grow. Where has baseless trust gotten us thus far?

This isn’t exclusive to the UK by any means, but it is massively palpable here. We’re more cynical than most, granted, but we’ve every right to be so.