Young people face a postcode lottery for their life chances, new data reveals
Pioneering analysis today (18th July) proves how young people’s life chances are determined by where they are born and grow up. This data has been used to develop a free-to-use website that can compare young people’s life chances by postcode.
www.comparefutures.org is launched today by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies based on work by researchers at the University of Sheffield and the University of Brighton and funded by the Nominet Trust.
For the first time, www.comparefutures.org shows the stark contrast between what young people in different parts of England are mostly likely to be doing at the age of 18. For instance, the data reveals that young people in Erdington, North East Birmingham are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as their peers in wealthy South Kensington. In addition, despite being just twenty miles apart, young people in affluent Harrogate are seven times as likely to go to an elite university than their counterparts in Bradford. This demonstrates clearly the lack of social mobility in the UK.
The website is launched as new statistics reveal that nationally, the proportion of 16- to 18-year-olds not in education, employment or training has risen by 8%.
Users can find detailed breakdowns by educational, employment, training and caring responsibilities. In addition, they can compare the futures of teenagers in different areas, as well as comparing an area with the England average. A simple free registration module also allows users to save their comparisons, share them with friends through Twitter and Facebook, and contact their Member of Parliament to lobby for action.
Key features of www.comparefutures.org include
- Complex data presented in accessible and visually engaging formats.
- Compare likely futures by postcode.
- Comparisons can be made between areas and with the England average.
- Save comparisons and share them with friends.
- Contact Members of Parliament to raise awareness and lobby for action.
Richard Garside, director of the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies, said:
‘We are taught that life is what you make it, that the able will succeed, regardless of background. www.comparefutures.org shows that where you are born and where you grow up has a huge influence on where you end up. www.comparefutures.org will help young people and their families lobby their MPs to challenge the postcode lottery.’
Professor Danny Dorling of the University of Sheffield, one of the researchers behind the www.comparefutures.org data said:
‘There are huge inequalities between young peoples' life chances that increasingly depend on where they are born. These inequalities are currently growing.’
Dr Judith Watson of the University of Brighton, the other researcher behind the www.comparefutures.org data said:
‘While a few young people have a straightforward journey from full-time education into a career, that is no longer the case for most. In some parts of the country what awaits them is the revolving door between unemployment and casual work.’
Annika Small, CEO, Nominet Trust, said:
“The powerful data available through Compare Futures proves what we’ve known for a long time - the postcode lottery is not a myth but in fact a harsh and very bleak reality for Britain’s young people.
“We’d urge policy makers, youth workers and other professionals working with young people to take note of the fact that our current system is failing today’s youth, and that a fresh approach is required.
A key to changing the status quo is digital technology which gives us the tools to do things radically differently. ‘Whether it’s creating new connections that increase young people’s access to resources and networks of support, or innovative ways of showcasing talents and experience to future employers, digital technology can broaden young people’s horizons and improve their social and economic participation.”
Comparison one: young people growing up near a well-known supermarket in Erdington, north east of Birmingham, compared with young people growing up near a different branch of the same supermarket in South Kensington, London.
- One third of young people growing up in South Kensington are likely to go to an elite university, compare with virtually no young people growing up in Erdington.
- Ten percent of young people growing up in Erdington are still likely to be studying basic skills qualifications at 18, compared with only one percent in South Kensington.
- Young people in Erdington are more than three times as likely to be unemployed as their peers in South Kensington.
Comparison two: young people who have gone to a secondary school in the Hull West and Hessle constituency compare with young people who have gone to secondary school in Oxford West.
- One fifth of the Hull West young people are likely to go on to higher education, compared with two fifths of the Oxford West young people. The Hull West young people are also much more likely to end up at new universities and colleges of higher education. The Oxford West young people are far more likely to go to elite and older universities.
- Young people in Hull West are three times as likely to be unemployed and twice as likely to be a full-time carer for a family member.
Comparison three: young people in Bradford West constituency compared with young people in Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency, just twenty miles apart.
- Young people in Bradford West are twice as likely as their counterparts in Harrogate to not be education, employment or training.
- Young people in Harrogate are seven times as likely to go to an elite university.
- Young people in Bradford West are three times as likely to be unemployed.
Notes to editors
- www.comparefutures.org is a postcode search website that allows comparisons to be made of young peoples’ life chances for each of the 533 parliamentary constituencies in England. It does not have data for constituencies in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The data covered by www.comparefutures is as follows:
- Educational. Studying:
- basic qualifications
- AS/A level
- at a college of higher education
- at a former polytechnic
- at a red brick university
- at an elite university
- In full-time employment
- In part-time employment
- Not in education, employment or training
- Engaged in full-time caring responsibilities
- Educational. Studying:
- www.comparefutures.org is based on census and educational data from the period 2001 – 2005 and is the best data currently available for doing postcode-style analysis of young people’s life changes. Until the 2011 census is released in 2013 there is no more up-to-date data on what young people who are not in education, training or unemployed are involved in each area. A full technical explanation of the data is available at www.comparefutures.org/INSERT.
- The Centre for Crime and Justice Studies is an independent public interest charity that engages with the worlds of research and policy, practice and campaigning. Its mission is to inspire enduring change by promoting understanding of social harm, the centrality of social justice and the limits of criminal justice. www.crimeandjustice.org.uk.
- The Nominet Trust is a UK registered charity, which believes in the power of digital technology to improve lives and communities.
The Trust brings together, invests in and supports people committed to using digital technology to create social and economic value.
Nominet Trust has invested in hundreds of projects since its inception in September 2008, providing business support as well as financial investment, seeking to connect projects to prospective partners who can help increase their reach and impact.
Nominet Trust was founded in 2008 by Nominet, the not-for-profit organisation responsible for the smooth and secure running of the .uk internet infrastructure. Nominet has a strong public purpose and the Trust is one example of its commitment to creating a safer, accessible and diverse internet.