British Studies Web Pages

Youth Culture and Fashion


British Youth Today

Below you will find some statistics about young British people, taken from newspaper surveys and the Office of National Statistics. We have added reactions to the statistics from a British teacher, who is also the parent of two teenage children. To read these, click on the link after each statistic.

Ideas for Classroom Use

The Statistics


  • Smoking – 29% of 15-year-old girls are regular smokers and 19% of boys
  • Weight – 47% of girls 16-19 are on a diet and 28% of boys of the same age are trying to gain weight
  • Illness – 1/5 of teenagers have a chronic disease of some kind (asthma the most common, and increasing at the fastest rate)
  • Teacher/Parent’s reaction


  • Favourite activities of 16-24 yr.olds – 82% going to the pub; 77% going for a meal; 68% going clubbing (going to night clubs)
  • Favourite activities of teenagers – watching TV (favourite programmes Eastenders and Who wants to be a Millionaire); playing computer games; shopping for clothes
  • Sport – three out of four boys aged 16-17 are involved in sports outside school, (mainly team sports with football the most popular); four out of ten girls of the same age take part (mainly swimming and keep-fit); participation falls off for both rapidly when they start to earn money and learn to drive.
  • Teacher/Parent’s reaction


  • Staying on - three quarters of girls and 2/3 of boys stay on at school after compulsory education finishes at 16
  • Results - the number of girls achieving two A-Levels has doubled to 25% since 1976, while boys have managed only a six per cent rise to 21%
  • Subjects - most girls choose languages and literature, even though they matched boys with their GCSE grades in science and maths
  • Teacher/Parent’s reaction


(Sunday Times survey of 1,000 school pupils aged 13-16, 19 March 2000)
  • British - In England 65% saw themselves as English first, in Wales 79% as Welsh, and in Scotland 82% as Scottish.
  • European - Only 1% of English children, and almost no Scots or Welsh, said they thought of themselves first as Europeans.

  • Symbols - The most potent symbols for English respondents were the national anthem, the England football team and the Palace of Westminster.
  • Teacher/Parent’s reaction

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