From housing and employment prospects to differing values and political views – our age is often portrayed as defined by a growing generational divide. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted further intergenerational differences, with the elderly considered more at risk healthwise and millennials, financially. Even before the pandemic, the media has often reinforced age-related stereotypes – on one side, baby boomers who got the best of the post-war economic boom, in the process getting richer and more conservative politically, and millennials, technology savvy and individualistic, political ‘snowflakes’, experiencing an adulthood of precarious employment and housing.

What does data tell us about these apparent generational inequalities and what are the implications for society? Have we really never had it so good? Could things be about to change as the world reluctantly concedes to the “new normal”? The event will address current debates about how COVID-19 has exacerbated generational divides and exposed inequalities in mental health and wellbeing, housing, employment, access to green space and other areas.

About the event

Jennie Bristow is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Canterbury Christ Church University, an Associate of the Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, and a writer and commentator on the ‘generation wars’. Her recent books include: The Corona Generation: Coming of age in a crisis (with Emma Gilland, Zero Books 2020); Generational Encounters with Higher Education: The Academic–Student Relationship and the University Experience (with Sarah Cant and Anwesa Chatterjee, Bristol University Press 2020); Stop Mugging Grandma: The ‘generation wars’ and why Boomer blaming won’t solve anything (Yale University Press 2019); and The Sociology of Generations: New directions and challenges (Palgrave Macmillan 2016).

Chaired by writer and broadcaster Timandra Harkness. Timandra presents BBC Radio 4 series, FutureProofing and has presented the documentaries, Data, Data Everywhere, Personality Politics & The Singularity.

Data Debates is a collaboration between The Alan Turing Institute and the British Library and aims to stimulate discussion on issues surrounding big data, its potential uses, and its implications for society.

Join the conversation #TheDataDebates