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What is the centre?

Intergenerational fairness has risen up the agenda in recent years. From job and housing insecurity experienced by young people, to a social care system not fit to support older generations, Britain faces living standards challenges that affect different generations in different ways.

Responding effectively to these challenges means understanding what’s driving them, and how they can be addressed. The Intergenerational Centre has been set up as a home for this analysis and policy thinking, looking at living standards through a generational lens.

Message from Lord David Willetts

President of the Intergenerational Centre

I have been exploring the issue of equity between generations for over a decade now, from writing The Pinch to Chairing the Resolution Foundation’s recent Intergenerational Commission.

This work has left me even more convinced that equity between generations is one of the biggest issues facing 21st century Britain.

The Intergenerational Centre will be at the heart of solving the many challenges that this issue throws up – from exploring the income and wealth gaps across generations, to rebuilding the social contract between generations that has been allowed to fray in recent decades.

— Lord David Willetts

Read more from David


How have pay, home ownership, consumption and wealth diverged for different age groups? How do cohorts’ living standards today measure up against those of their predecessors at the same age? How do these patterns differ across regions, and across the sexes? This interactive data dashboard, which sits alongside our Intergenerational audit for the UK, funded by the Nuffield Foundation, allows you to explore the answers to these questions and more.

View dashboard
  • Entering employment, acquiring new skills and progressing up the pay ladder are important steps in many people’s lives, and essential for improving their living standards. But changes in the labour market, educational opportunities and the wider economy mean that different generations face different work and pay-related challenges, shifting across the life course. In this section we explore:
    • Pay growth
    • Employment trends
    • Qualifications
    • Atypical employment
    View this topic
  • Access to safe, secure and affordable housing is one of the most fundamental measures of living standards. But spiralling house prices, combined with the limited availability of social housing and high costs associated with the private rented sector, mean that for many UK families and individuals, these things remain out of reach. In this section we examine:
    • Home ownership
    • Housing costs
    • Overcrowding
    • Commuting times
    View this topic
  • Household incomes and consumption patterns provide a lens on day-to-day living standards. We explore these measures here, with a specific focus on how changes to the tax and benefit system are affecting them, and the experience of poverty for different generations over the life course. In particular we look at:
    • Household incomes
    • Poverty
    • Consumption trends
    • Welfare spending
    View this topic
  • In this section we explore wealth inequalities between different birth cohorts and generations, how this relates to home ownership, and how it reflects changes in the pensions system. We also look at how wealth patterns vary between men and women. Our data focuses on:
    • Changes in net wealth
    • Property wealth
    • Inheritances and gifts
    • Pensions
    View this topic

What We Do


Ageing, fast and slow

When place and demography collide
Published on 28 October 2019 by Charlie McCurdy

Demographic divergence matters for local government, for local economies, and for our politics. This report describes differences in ageing in different regions across the UK, and examines the implications for our politics and policy.

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Mapping millennials’ living standards

Published on 29 August 2019 by Maja Gustafsson

Intergenerational progress – the idea that each successive cohort should have higher living standards than predecessors at the same age – has slowed down markedly for today’s young adults. This puts their experience in stark contrast to the rapid cohort-on-cohort...

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A fraying net

The role of a state safety net in supporting young people develop and transition to an independent, healthy future
Published on 22 October 2019 by Laura Gardiner,Fahmida Rahman

This report reviews the state-provided financial safety net available to young adults, and how it has changed over time. It finds that young people have always relied more on benefits than working-age adults. But this gap has narrowed over recent...

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Ageing fast, ageing slow

When Britain’s geography and demography collide
Monday 28 October, 2019

Britain is getting older. Life expectancy is rising and, with Britain’s large post-war baby boomer generation now moving into retirement, a growing proportion of our population are pensioners. But not all parts of Britain are ageing at the same pace,...

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Paying it forward, and handing it back

Understanding equity between generations
Monday 14 October, 2019

In the first of a series of events focused on intergenerational fairness, a panel of experts explore whether Britain does have a generational contract, and what that means for our politics, economics and society.

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Tackling Britain’s care crisis

What would a cross-party, long-term plan look like?
Thursday 11 July, 2019

How can we push forward a sustainable solution to Britain’s care crisis? Event with speakers including former Deputy Prime Minister Damian Green, former Shadow Minister for Care Liz Kendall, and former Minister for Care Norman Lamb.

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News and Comment

What is generational fairness?

David Runciman speech on intergenerational fairness and political representation
Published on 21 October 2019

This article summarises a speech by Professor David Runciman at a recent Intergenerational Centre event exploring what the concept of generational fairness means for our politics, economics and society. You can watch the full event on our event page. This...

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War and peace – David Willetts reviews two of the latest books on Intergenerational equity for the Financial Times

Published on 3 July 2019

Class used to predict how people would vote in Britain and elsewhere — in 1974 if you were a member of the working class you were three times more likely to vote Labour than Conservative. Now the distribution of votes...

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Life as a millennial is far less extravagant than you might think

Published on 20 June 2019

When economists and policy makers talk about living standards they think in terms of real (equivalised) household disposable incomes (before or after housing costs). This is a good approach to take, but it’s not how most people think.  A more...

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Research database

Explore our database of academic, think-tank and policy research to find out more about how living standards differ across and within generations, both in the UK and elsewhere.

View the database

Video library

Explore our library of videos that summarise the key messages from our research, and catch up on our past generational living standards-themed events.

View the video library
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