New data finds 42 % of 16-24 year olds have no interest in politics

New data from Understanding Society, ISER’s UK-wide panel survey funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, published by the Office of National Statistics reveals a changing picture of our attitudes towards politics and politicians.
The figures examine interest in politics and democracy amongst the UK population and have been published as part of the ONS study of UK well-being.

  • Nearly a quarter (24%) of people aged 15 and over reported that they ‘tended to trust’ the government in the UK in autumn 2013.
  • Those aged 16 to 24 were more likely to state no interest at all in politics (42%) than those aged 65 and over (21%) in the UK in 2011–12.
  • Over 6 in 10 (64%) of adults aged 18 and over in the UK in 2011–12, agreed or strongly agreed that they would seriously be neglecting their duty as a citizen if they didn’t vote.
  • Voter turnout in UK General Elections peaked in 1950 with over 8 in 10 (82%) of the electorate voting, in 2010 the turnout was 61%.
  • A lower proportion (57%) agreed they found politics too complicated to understand in 2012 compared with 69% in 1986 in Great Britain.
  • A lower proportion (60%) agreed that ‘voting is the only way to have any say’ in 2012, compared with 73% in 1994 in Great Britain.

Media coverage

This report has received widespread media coverage in the Times, The Guardian, the Independent and BBC News, available here on ISER’s Scoop-it page.


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