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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

Indicators

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

Publications (see all)

Age-old or new-age?

The changing incidence of social security benefits by age
Published on 27 August 2021 by Karl Handscomb, Lalitha Try

At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, the number of families receiving income from the benefits system increased significantly, with 1.3 million more families receiving Universal Credit within three months – reversing a trend of a steady decline in families...

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Boom(erang) Time?

An analysis of younger adults living with their parents
Published on 21 June 2021 by Maja Gustafsson

Different data sources tell different stories about the share of younger people that have lived with their parents during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, even before the pandemic younger people on lower-pay and in more precarious forms of work were more...

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Uneven steps

Changes in youth unemployment and study since the onset of Covid-19
Published on 14 April 2021 by Kathleen Henehan

In order to reduce the spread of Covid-19, and thereby save lives, large sectors of the UK economy were temporarily shut down during parts of 2020 and 2021. Although unemployment rose by less than anticipated during this period, with the...

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An intergenerational audit for the UK

2020
Published on 7 October 2020 by Laura Gardiner, Maja Gustafsson, Mike Brewer, Karl Handscomb, Kathleen Henehan, Lindsay Judge, Fahmida Rahman

This Intergenerational Audit for the UK – supported by the Nuffield Foundation – provides the first comprehensive assessment of the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis for different generations in Britain.

Read More

Events

Boomers and boomerangs

The past and pandemic present of multi-generational living
Monday 21 June, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has had huge impacts on young people. Many have been furloughed, while others have lost their job or been unable to find one in the first place. And everyone has heard stories about how coping with these...

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Lives, livelihoods and lifestyles

The impact of the covid crisis across generations
Thursday 8 October, 2020

The COVID-19 crisis has cost tens of thousands of lives, millions of people’s livelihoods and upended everyone’s daily life. While younger generations have the lowest health risk from the virus, the Resolution Foundation’s Intergenerational Audit – the first comprehensive assessment...

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All in this together again?

The impact of the covid policy response across generations
Thursday 10 September, 2020

Live interactive webinar.  The overall scale of the Government’s policy response to the crisis is well known, from tens of billions spent on the Job Retention Scheme to significant increases in benefit levels. But it’s impact across generations is less...

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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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It's getting better all the time?

Published on 5 July 2019

In 1957 the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan told the country that it had “never had it so good”. Since then more than six decades have elapsed, and each successive generation has debated whether this applies to them. Such debates continue...

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The middle aged, not the middle class, are the new swing voters

Published on 2 November 2019

An election is coming. You may have noticed. The early phase of any campaign is the contest about what the election will actually be about – where the battle lines will lie. You want it to be all about Brexit...

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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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