Publication - Research and analysis

Children's Health and Wellbeing - Horizon Scanning Review

Published: 4 Apr 2019
Part of:
Research
ISBN:
9781787816640

The review summarises the predicted societal trends and shifts that will likely shape the lives of children and young people over the next decade.

28 page PDF

1.6 MB

28 page PDF

1.6 MB

Contents
Children's Health and Wellbeing - Horizon Scanning Review
7. Future social patterns

28 page PDF

1.6 MB

7. Future social patterns

This section presents key future changes in social patterns and behaviours.

7.1 Social attitudes 

Increasingly diverse peer groups and high levels of participation in higher education, reinforced by increased urban living and mobility, are likely to result in younger generations continuing the gradual shift towards more liberal/permissive social attitudes about gender equality, sexuality, race, ethnicity and immigration.[38] 

7.2 Voting 

There is evidence that voting is habitual. Therefore, if today’s young people do not get into the habit of voting when they are young, then they will be less likely to vote as they get older. However, the continued strength of support for democratic values amongst young people may mean that there is potential for young people to re-connect with mainstream politics. We should therefore not assume that current trends towards low engagement are certain to continue.[39]

7.3 Community engagement 

While young people are less likely to participate in the community in the traditional sense of voting in elections and influencing decisions through their elected representatives, evidence suggests that young people are as interested in engaging with the community as previous generations. This could lead to the emergence of new forms of community that combine virtual and local communities as well as new forms of community engagement.[40]

7.4 Risk behaviour and crime 

Although risk behaviours and crime figures continue to decline, the trend towards ‘emerging adulthood’ could mean that people engage in risk behaviours for longer. While risk behaviour (e.g. smoking and drug use) generally declines with age, becoming a parent and moving in with a partner are both associated with a reduction in risk behaviours over and above that associated with age alone. Given the many complex explanatory factors associated with participating in risk behaviours, we cannot be certain that the trends towards declining risk behaviours will continue over the next 10 years.[41]

7.5 Key points 

-Increasingly diverse peer groups and high levels of participation in higher education, reinforced by increased urban living and mobility, are likely to mean that younger generations will continue to gradually shift towards increasingly liberal/permissive social attitudes about gender equality, sexuality, race, ethnicity and immigration.
-There has been a decline in voting among young people in Scotland but there appears to be continued interest in democratic values and community engagement. This could lead to a the emergence of new forms of community that combine virtual and local communities, and the trend towards declining voter participation may be reversed.
- Although risk behaviours and crime figures continue to decline, the trend towards ‘emerging adulthood’ could mean that people engage in risk behaviours for longer.


Contact

Email: socialresearch@gov.scot