Social action 'more popular among affluent young people'

By Adam Offord

| 25 November 2015

Young people from poorer families are less likely to take part in youth social action than their more affluent peers, researchers have found.

The number of young people involved in youth social action in the UK rose last year. Picture: V

The annual Youth Social Action survey conducted by Ipsos MORI shows 42 per cent of 10- to 20-year-olds in the UK took part in meaningful social action in 2015, a slight rise on the 40 per cent in 2014, but involvement varies depending on a range of factors. 

The research shows young people in families from the top two socio-economic groups A and B are more likely to participate in social action (49 per cent), but the rate falls among those in less affluent group C1 (42 per cent) and groups C2, D and E (38 per cent).

Participation is also higher among females (45 per cent) compared with males (39 per cent), while more white young people are likely to participate in social action (43 per cent) compared with peers from black and minority ethnic communities (36 per cent).

Regional participation was mainly unchanged from the previous year with the only significant increase taking place in the South West of England (54 per cent up from 38 per cent) and the East of England (41 per cent up from 25 per cent), while Northern Ireland saw the only significant decrease (24 per cent down from 36 per cent).

The survey, launched on the second anniversary of the #iwill campaign, was commissioned by Cabinet Office, and used data from interviews with 2,021 young people to estimate figures for the whole of the UK. 

Charlotte Hill, chief executive of Step Up To Serve, the charity behind the #iwill campaign said: “We all want to live in a world where people support each other and play an active part in making their community stronger. 

“We need to embed this into the lives of young people growing up across the UK. So many young people want to make a difference and play their part, but currently aren’t able to."

Other findings collected from the survey show seven in 10 young people are interested in taking part in social action in the future, but 41 per cent of non-participants do not know how or have never considered it.

Schools and colleges were also seen as the most common route into social action with nearly three-quarters of 10- to 20-year-olds stating they got involved through their school or college, while 30 per cent got involved through family, 24 per cent through friends, and 18 per cent through structured programmes.

Fundraising, volunteering for charity, and supporting people in the community also remained the top three activities carried out by young people.

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