Men or women, young or old: who has things better in British society?

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
November 29, 2018, 8:32 AM GMT+0

YouGov shows how far the public believe that the scales are tipped in favour of certain groups

British society has never been equal, but the hope has long been that we’re working towards that ideal.

However, the #MeToo revelations, evidence that the young have a lower standard of living than their parents did and the fact that it’s now cheaper to rent than own a home at a time when many cannot get on the property ladder remind us that we still have a long way to go.

Now a new YouGov survey explores which social groups Britons believe have things better.

Men or women

That men have things better is a view held by approaching half of the public (45%). Only a third (33%) believe the genders have parity, and one in nine (11%) believe that the fairer sex have the better deal.

The majority of women (56%) say that men have things better, compared to only a third (34%) of men who think the same. Among men the most common view (37%) is that both genders have things equally good – a view which 29% of women also hold.

Very few people think that women have things better than men, although men are much more likely to believe this to be the case than women (17% vs 4%).

Young or old

Whether or not things are better for young or old Britons is the most divisive of the pairings we asked about. The 38% of Brits who say old people have things better is a full thirteen percentage points higher than the 25% who think young people do.

This tendency to think that old people have the better deal is found in all age groups, although it’s strongest amongst the young. Close to half (47%) of 18 to 24 year olds say that the elderly have things better, a figure which declines with each age group before bottoming out at 33% among the 55 to 64 and over-65 age groups.

Rich or poor

Unsurprisingly, Britons are unequivocal that the rich have a better time of it than the poor. Fully 63% of people said that rich people have things “much better” than the poor, with a total of 87% saying that the affluent have things better to some degree. This figure is broadly consistent across the income scale.

The South or the rest of the UK

That power, wealth and opportunity are concentrated in the south of England is not a new concept, and the poll shows that it’s widely acknowledged by people across the country.

The majority of Britons (55%) say that people in the south have things better, compared to a mere 7% who think the rest of the UK does. This sentiment is even higher among those who live outside the south, with 62% saying their southern brethren have things better (48% of southerners agree).

Homeowners or renters

A recent YouGov survey showed that, given the option, 90% of people would prefer to own their own home if they could afford to.

The public are under no illusions that things are better for homeowners than renters. Close to two thirds (64%) say that homeowners have things better – just 5% think the same of people who rent.

Private renters are the most likely to say homeowners have things better, at 73%. Among those who own outright this figure is 67%, and 60% among those who own with a mortgage. People who rent council homes are the least sure – only 47% believe those who own have things better, but this is mostly down to the fact that they are much more likely to have answered “don’t know”, at 28% compared to 14% among Brits as a whole.

Photo: Getty

See the full results here

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