18-year-olds of today: Generation Sensible

Last updated: Jan 30th, 2019

Higher-education on the rise:

Today, one in three 18-year-olds are on a higher education course which is a continuation of a positive trend seen for many years. In 2017, there was a record number of 18-year-olds from the UK accepted into British universities, totalling 241,500. It also reported that more young women are going to university.

Teenage pregnancy and marriage on the decline:

The birth rate for women aged 18 fell by 58% between 2000 and 2016, while for men aged 18, the birth rate dropped by 41%. In fact, in 2016, the average age of a first-time mother in England and Wales had risen to almost 29. Better sex education, health services, access to online information and the number of young women going to university are all said to play a part in this decline.

It also showed that only around one in a thousand 18-year-olds got married in 2015 – five times fewer than at the start of the millennium.

Employment drops, but is this positive?

Currently around 43% of 18-year-olds are working; this compares with 60% at the start of the millennium. Whilst at first this doesn’t seem like a positive change, it’s interesting to see that there has been a huge increase in the number of 18-year-olds who are “economically inactive” – this includes students who aren’t working alongside their studies.

Drinking and smoking in decline:

When surveyed, only around half of 18 to 24-year-olds had drunk alcohol in the previous week, while less than a quarter of 18 to 24-year-olds smoke.

The smoking decline is said to have been helped along by governments around the UK banning smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces, raising the legal age to purchase tobacco from 16 to 18, outlawing the display of tobacco products in shops, and introducing compulsory plain packaging.

What are your thoughts?

Have you seen a change in the 18-year-olds of today compared to the start of the millennia? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.