UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Rethinking prosperity: Perspectives of young people living in East London

Rethinking pRospeRity: peRspectives of young people living in east london

8 February 2022

Sender, H; Hannan, MA; Billingham, L; Isaacs, J; Ocitti, D; (2020) 

In this paper, we argue that prosperity is understood and experienced in different ways by different age groups. Young people are typically less involved in research about their prosperity than adults. Their views and experiences are therefore less likely to be considered in policy decisions than adults’. However, young people – and particularly adolescents between 14-24 years old – are significantly affected by societal transformation, and are capable of reflecting on and responding to that transformation. We outline a study conducted with young people in Hackney who are mostly in mid-adolescence (between 14-17 years old). Hackney is a borough in east London which has undergone significant social and economic transformation. We draw out the main factors which young people said influenced their ability to live a good life in Hackney and discuss their views of the London Prosperity Index. We argue that there are structural differences and value differences which affect how young people understand prosperity, and which impact their capacity to lead a good life in places which are changing significantly. We conclude by establishing the need for a Youth Prosperity Index, to complement the Prosperity Index and related indexes, which focus on adults’ experiences and values. The research which informed this paper was funded by a UCL Beacon Bursary.


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