YouGov regularly tracks public opinion on social mobility and according to their last three years of data, young people especially think that equality of opportunity in the UK is on the decline.
The trend is DRAMATIC…
In January 2022 68% of 18-24 year olds thought that their life chances were ‘broadly determined’ by their parents socio-economic background – this is up from 59% when asked the same question in August 2019.
Only 13% of 18-24 year olds said there are equal opportunities in January 2022, down from 23% in August 2019.
In just two and a half years, these are pretty large changes in opinion with lots more young people supporting the view that social class has an impact on life chances.
Interestingly the trend for all age groups is much more stable…
This suggests that young people’s views are shifting away from older people’s – meaning there is an increasingly different perception in life chances.
NB this survey tells us nothing of the actual social reality – it doesn’t tell us which perception is correct – I’m inclined to think this radical change is down to the restrictions placed on society due to the government’s chosen response to Covid-19 (‘Lockdown’ and school closures).
Maybe those 18-24 year olds are more in touch with younger people who were hugely impacted by these restrictions and this is them expressing that difference.
Whether or not there really has been such drastic reduction in equal opportunities for young people we will have to wait many years to find out, unfortunately.
However I am reasonably certain that equal opportunities haven’t improved over the last three years!
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