Majority of millenials in South Korea, Belgium, France and Spain expect to have a worse life than their parents
Few millennials have safely surfed the financial crisis, while many in Greece and the UK have drowned. A new report from the Resolution Foundation has investigated the fate of young adults across the developed world, finding major differences. Highlights from the report included the revelation that a majority of millenials in South Korea, Belgium, France and Spain expect to have a worse life than their parents. In the UK, Germany, Sweden and the United States only small percentages are optimistic of securing a better life for themselves.
By contrast the vast majority of Chinese millennials are confident of securing more wealth than their parents. Analysis showed that young people have been hit hardest in their pockets and on the property ladder. Greeks born after 1980 earned on average 26% less than their Generation X counterparts (born in the 1970s) did at the same age. The number of people aged under 35 who own property has dropped dramatically, falling to 33% for British millennials. Decades ago more than 60% of the Baby Boomer generation had bought a home before turning 35.
The report found that young people from South Europe are having a far harder time finding work. But in Northern European countries the prospect of career progression has fallen and men in particular are securing only part-time work.
Rotting your brain
Young people are being asked for their views on social media use and how it might be affecting their brains. The British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee also wants input from counsellors and teachers.
Time spent staring at a screen is also a concern, said committee chairman Norman Lamb. “We want to determine the scale of the issues and identify what practical measures people are already taking to boost the benefits and blunt the potential harms.”
Any young people wishing to submit their views on the topic can do so through this parliamentary website link. MPs would like them to write no more than 3,000 words outlining their concerns, with a deadline of April 6.
The committee investigation comes amid heightened concerns about the impact of social media on the mental health of young users. The latest report on social media use among youngsters found that 95% of 15-year-olds log on to Facebook, Instagram and other sites before or after school.
Psychiatrists and other researchers believe that securing ‘likes’ or ‘hits’ online opens addiction pathways in the brain for many web-savvy young adults. Last year the UCLA Brain Mapping centre identified Instagram as the worst social media site for mental health.
A sweeping survey of 11,000 EU citizens aged 15-30 has been published with some interesting findings. The Eurobarometer report focused on their political, sporting and cultural participation. It found that one in five have attended a youth club or other local NGO in the past year. Physical activity was the most popular option, with some 29% attending a sports club. Young environmentalists are less common, with just 5% active in groups tackling climate change and other green matters.
Irish, German and Dutch youth were the sportiest, while only 10% of Hungarians were active in sports organisations. But Hungarians, Poles and Romanians were relatively active in local cultural groups.
On average across the EU only 7% of respondents participated in local politics. The number shoots up in Germany and Austria where 12% are engaged in politics, compared to just 1% in Latvia. Almost eight in ten Austrians and Italians said they had voted in local, national or regional elections in the past three years. At the other end of the scale just 35% of Lithuanians and 36% of Irish youth had visited a polling station.
Across the EU students and unemployed youth were far less likely to vote than those with jobs, while those living in large towns and cities were more politically active than those residing in rural areas.