How is 2021 shaping up for young people after a tough 2020

We’re looking at the challenges faced by young people in 2020 and how 2021 is looking to be a year of hope for young people across the UK!


By Marmalade Author

Updated on Nov 1st, 2022

Young people have been particularly hard hit by the pandemic in 2020. Youth unemployment is at the highest it has been since 2016¹ and their mental health has suffered. Not to mention so many coming of age milestones that may have been missed! A prom, a first kiss, first holiday with friends, turning 18 – and of course passing a driving test has alluded many!

We surveyed 2744 17–24 year olds about how covid has affected them and here’s what they had to say:

73% said it had a negative impact on them and their life

The majority (62%) said that it was mostly negative but with some positives - 11% suggested it was all negative.

Impact of covid

Here's what some had to say:

“I missed my university graduation and graduation ball”

“I Lost two family members during the first lockdown and couldn’t attend the funeral to say goodbye”

“Without driving, I’ve not been able to find a new job”

“Involved with A level Fiasco. Unable to travel with friends after leaving school, Unable to return to University after Christmas.”

Nearly a quarter of young people found that it had a positive impact

23% said it was mostly positive with some negatives. A delighted 1% found the impact was all positive!

Here's how some respondents stayed positive:

“It was great to spend more time at home and be able to look after myself more. I was less stressed and much healthier.”

“I found a hobby in foraging that I love and we have explored our local forests which has also kept us physically healthy.”

“Career-wise: being off college due to covid has given me time to properly figure out what I want to do”

“Having the time to consistently practice languages, drawing, yoga every day etc.”

The main challenges of 2020

  • The worst impact was on Mental Health, with 70% saying it had a negative impact of theirs.
  • Education suffered too. 58% said it had a negative impact here with the biggest impact on 17 year olds (71%) and 18 year olds (66%)
  • 49% felt their relationships suffered as a result of covid (both romantic and with friends and family)
  • 46% suggested it had a negative impact on employment (rising to 40% for those aged 19-24). Unemployment for 17 year olds has increased by 11% year (comparing November 2020-January 2021, with the pre-pandemic quarter of January-March 2020).¹
  • Physical health worsened for 44% of young people, and over a third (36%) felt financially worse off.


There is a silver lining!

  • Whilst half found there was a negative impact on relationships - 46% found it had a positive impact on their relationships.
  • 59% of respondents said they enjoyed spending more time with family.
  • A third of young people saw in improvement in their physical health and 46% spent more time outdoors.
  • 32% found their finances were improved during the period, and 43% said that they managed to save money during the last year.
  • 29% found covid had a positive impact on their employment.
  • 31% said they had enjoyed living a simpler life during lockdown, and 30% enjoyed working or studying from home.


Top concerns of young people coming out of lockdown

The main concerns relate to the pandemic are:

  • 44% are concerned about the risk of catching or spreading Coronavirus
  • 41% are apprehensive about being in crowded places.
  • Nearly half (49%) are worried about the prospect of going back into lockdown.

The top concerns after this are:

  • 30% are concerned about their exam result and receiving teacher assessed grades.
  • Over a fifth (22%) of young people are concerned about finding a job.


Young peoples concerns included:

“High anxiety of social situations and getting scared of being left behind”

“University restrictions for another year...”

“Job security”

How is 2021 shaping up for young people?

The good news is that the majority (58%) have said that 2021 is looking better. Over a 3rd think that this year is shaping up to be the same for them.

2021 shaping up

Like many of us, they're are looking forward to heading out!

It looks like along with the rest of the country the most anticipated activities are seeing friends and family, going on holiday and heading out to a pub, café or restaurant! We’re also pleased to see that 58% are looking forward to driving!

looking forward

What has the impact been on learner drivers?

There’s been a big impact on learner drivers as a result of lockdown, with 48% of learner drivers saying they have had a driving test cancelled and 9 out 10 indicating they would have passed their test in the last year if it had not been for Covid. It's looking like some may be waiting a while longer to pass their test as the DVSA being catching up on the 8 month backlog of driving tests!

Practice can help you pass first time!

By getting private practice alongside your driving lessons you could increase your chance of passing first time by 23% with Marmalade Learner Insurance!²
Get a quote in seconds and get covered in minutes - with no risk to the car owner's No Claims Discount

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