People, Population and Community


The Office of National Statistics has published two articles using indicators from the Opinions and Lifestyle Survey on the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on young and older people in Great Britain


  • Among young people (aged 16 to 29 years) who were worried about the effect the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives, their main concerns were the effects on schools or universities (24%), their well-being (22%), work (16%) and household finances (16%).
  • For those young people (aged 16 to 29 years) who reported that the coronavirus was affecting their work, the most commonly reported impacts were a reduction in hours worked (21%), concerns about health and safety at work (18%) and having been asked to work from home (19%).
  • Other than being unable to attend their educational establishments, most young people who reported an impact on schools or universities expressed concerns about the uncertainty over exams and qualifications (58%), the quality of education being affected (46%) and a move to homeschooling (18%).
  • Young people who reported that their well-being was being affected were much more likely than either those aged 30 to 59 years or those aged 60 years and over to report being bored (76%) and lonely (51%); they were also much more likely to say the lockdown was making their mental health worse (42%).
  • Young people were generally more optimistic than the older age groups about how long they expected the effect of the pandemic to last, and over half of them (55%) reported they expect their lives to return to normal within six months.


  • Among older people (aged 60 years and over) who were worried about the effect the coronavirus (COVID-19) was having on their lives, their main concerns were being unable to make plans in general (64.5%), personal travel plans such as holidays (53.4%) and their own well-being (51.4%).
  • Of those who said their well-being had been affected by the coronavirus, the most common ways older people said it had been affected were being worried about the future (70%), feeling stressed or anxious (54.1%) and being bored (43.3%).
  • Staying in touch with family and friends remotely was the main way those aged 60 years and over said they were coping whilst staying at home, followed by gardening, reading and exercise, with those aged in their 60s and 70s equally as likely as younger age groups to say that exercise was helping them to cope.
  • People aged in their 60s and 70s were more likely to have checked on neighbours who might need help three or more times and they were equally as likely to have gone shopping or done other tasks for neighbours at least one or two times as those aged under 60 years.
  • Those aged 60 years and over were most likely to say they expect the financial situation of their household to stay the same over the next 12 months and more likely to say this than younger age groups; this is probably because older people are less likely to be working and more likely to be on fixed pension incomes.  
  • People aged in their 60s were the least optimistic about how long it will take for life to return to normal, with a higher proportion saying it will take more than a year or that life will never return to normal, than those aged under 60 years and those aged 70 years and over