"I WANT US TO BE TREATED LIKE HUMAN BEINGS! Young people are delicate, even when they appear to be acting like little shits!"
By Sharon Telfer
Nearly 1 million more 16- to 24-year-olds were living in the UK in 2010 than in 2000. But fewer were in paid work.
Youth unemployment has risen continuously since 2004. By 2011 it was two-thirds higher than 2001. At a record high, it's three times higher than that of other adults. Competition for jobs is tougher. Of 25- to 50-year-olds:
2.1 million young adults aged 16–24 were living in low-income households in 2011. 38% were workless.
Those aged 16–19 were more likely to live in low-income households than older adults.
Of those aged 20–24, 30 per cent – around 1.2 million – lived in low-income households. That's ten percentage points higher than older groups.
An 'attainment gap' emerges before school. It continues through childhood. By 16 and older, it is considerable.
Across ethnic groups, white young people do less well than their peers from many minorities. But the performance and treatment of black Caribbean and Traveller children raise serious concerns.
For minority ethnic groups poverty is twice as likely, despite improved qualifications.
Poorer higher education students were already more likely to drop out, defer, switch, repeat or restart courses before tuition fees and cuts to Education Maintenance Allowance applied.
But the aspirations of disadvantaged young people are high.
Disabled young people share the ambitions of their non-disabled peers. But these were already frustrated before cuts to benefits and services:
Childhood poverty is linked with lower educational attainment, higher unemployment and low earnings in adulthood.
Early disadvantage remained unchanged in the poorest neighbourhoods despite years of initiatives.
Then: Disabled young people had strong views about society (2001).
Now: Young people set out the changes they feel would help their housing choices.
Then: Young people worked with professionals on preventing youth homelessness and supporting those affected (2007).
Now: 27 initiatives provide practical examples of improving housing for young people.
Then: Many poor parents deal effectively with adversity (2007).
Now: Parents' involvement in schooling can improve children’s results. Mentoring is also promising.
Then: Personal Advisers were essential in helping people find and keep work under the New Deals (2000).
Young adults born in 1970 faced a growing 'poverty penalty' compared with those born in 1958, including: fewer opportunities for those leaving school at 16; a growing gap between those with or without good qualifications; declining psychological health. In times of recession and austerity, these trends have deepened.