UK youth is less optimistic about its future than those in other countries, survey finds

  • UK 18 to 24-year-olds are less positive about their futures than those in six other countries – the US, India, Brazil, Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa
  • Only 1 in 4 young British people would say their country is optimistic about the future
  • 41% of young British people feel less optimistic than their parents’ generation
  • UK youth much more likely to be concerned about global and domestic political situations


Young people in the UK are far less optimistic about the future of themselves and their country than their contemporaries around the world, according to a new survey.

The survey - conducted by Streetbees, the global intelligence platform - finds that British 18 to 24-year-olds have significantly less confidence in the future than groups of the same age in six other countries – including the US, India and Nigeria.

The survey also finds that only 25% of young British people believe their country is optimistic about the future, against 49% who feel it is pessimistic. In addition, 41% feel their generation is less optimistic than their parents’ generation.

Tugce Bulut, CEO of Streetbees, said: “Our research, conducted through conversations with real people across the world via the Streetbees app, shows that young people in the UK are clearly very worried about what their futures hold, with money, relationships, and politics being particular concerns. In contrast, their contemporaries in developing nations like India and Nigeria believe they can achieve anything.”

Over 1,600 young people were surveyed in seven countries through the Streetbees app, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, the UK, the US and South Africa.

When asked how they felt about the future, 72% of UK young people said they were ‘very optimistic’ or ‘quite optimistic’, lower than in Nigeria (97%), Indonesia (96%), India (94%), Brazil (88%), South Africa (87%) and the US (86%). Only 23% of UK young people were ‘very optimistic’, a much lower score than in other countries.



Other findings in the survey include:

  • When asked if they were more or less optimistic than they were at the start of last year (2017), only 59% of UK young people said they were ‘much more optimistic’ or ‘a little more optimistic’, lower than all other countries (Indonesia 91%, Nigeria 87%, Brazil 83%, US 77%, India 69%, South Africa 69%)
  • When asked if their generation is more or less optimistic than their parents’ generation, 41% of UK young people said theirs was ‘a little less optimistic’ or ‘much less optimistic’, a much higher figure than any other country (US 27%, South Africa 26%, Brazil 22%, Nigeria 15%, India 15%, Indonesia 3%)
  • When asked how optimistic their country as a whole is about the future, only 25% of UK young people said the outlook was ‘very optimistic’ or ‘quite optimistic’, far lower than any other country (South Africa 36%, Brazil 54%, US 56%, Nigeria 67%, India 80%, Indonesia 87%)
  • In response to the same question, 49% of UK young people said the outlook was ‘quite pessimistic’ or very pessimistic’ (South Africa 36%, US 29%, Brazil 18%, Nigeria 15%, India 8%, Indonesia 1%)
  • When asked to respond to the statement ‘I can achieve anything I want to, if I put my mind to it,’ 83% of UK young people agreed with the statement – a lower amount than in the other countries (Brazil 88%, Indonesia 90%, US 91%, South Africa 97%, Nigeria 98%, India 99%). Only 43% of UK young people strongly agreed with the statement, much lower than in other countries.




Those surveyed were also asked about their specific concerns. When asked ‘What three things are you most concerned with right now?’:

  • UK young people were least likely to say ‘work’ (50%), compared to Indonesia (75%), Brazil (68%), Nigeria (58%), US (57%), South Africa (55%), India (53%)
  • UK young people were most likely to say ‘the political situation in their own country’ (19%), compared to Brazil (15%), US (9%), South Africa (9%), Nigeria (8%), India (7%), Indonesia (7%)
  • UK young people were also most likely to say ‘the political situation globally’ (19%), compared to Brazil (6%), Indonesia (6%), US (5%), South Africa (5%), India (4%), Nigeria (2%)


When asked ‘What is the one most important thing that contributes to being successful?’, ‘a job that makes me happy’ (UK – 33%) and ‘a family that loves me’ (UK – 22%) were popular answers in all countries. Other findings include:

  • Of those surveyed, UK young people were unlikely to say ‘academic success’ (11%) compared to Nigeria (31%) Brazil (20%), South Africa (26%), US (19%), and India (18%), and were more likely only compared to Indonesia (11%)
  • Of those surveyed, UK young people were most likely to say ‘a partner’ (10%), compared to Brazil (6%), Indonesia (4%), India (4%), South Africa (3%), US (3%), Nigeria (2%)



The figures in the article are taken in February 2018 from 1,660 people, aged 18-24, across Nigeria (325), India (308), Brazil (235), US (229), UK (206), South Africa (201), and Indonesia (156). All of the data was collected by mobile and web surveys, and is accurate to within 3 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

More graphs follow below, or to see a dashboard that displays the results, access the Streetbees platform at:

Password: analytics

In addition, an excel spreadsheet with the responses to specific questions is available at:


About Streetbees

Streetbees is a London-based global intelligence platform that makes data collection mutually beneficial for companies and our network of bees in over 150 countries around the world.

We gather data, opinions, photos and videos directly from our own on-the-ground community, helping some of the world’s largest organisations get insights into how people think and behave. Through in-app conversations, we discover rich detail about real people’s lives, anywhere in the world.

Streetbees is backed by well-known investors and entrepreneurs including Robin Klein, Richard Reed and Octopus Ventures, and our investors have backed or founded TransferWise, Zoopla, FarFetch, Graze, Wonga and Innocent drinks.

Real People. Real Lives. In Real Time.



Norval Scott, Head of Communications, Streetbees
mobile: +44 7527 286 552


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