UK’s young people are less likely to have pets and are nostalgic for the past

OPINION: For me, there is a link between what I perceive as a quite dramatic increase in the desire of people to buy nostalgic products and the fact that twice as many young people compared to 2010 are too sick to work in the UK. And thirdly, in my view, young people are less likely to be in a position to adopt a companion animal, either a cat or dog. I’m trying to link up these various elements of modern life for young people in the UK.

Twice as many young people (since 2010) are too sick to work in the UK

On the radio this morning there was a discussion as to why young people are often too sick to work or that’s what they think. Some might say they are workshy. They say they are genuinely sick. They might even be lazy and all of these things could be true but we shouldn’t be too harsh on young people because modern life is much harder for them than it was for people like me. I was a young person in the 1960s and 1970s. Much easier life. Much easier to achieve those adult landmarks such as buying a flat or a house, buying your car, getting a decent job. Actually, it was even easier before I was a young man to get a decent job but it’s become increasingly more difficult as the years go by to the point where we are now, where the work environment is entirely different.

One problem is there is less stability and less certainty. The gig economy often means that young people work at home and they don’t see a progression in their careers. And they might be on short-term contracts or contracts which do not provide them with the job stability they crave in order to build a family and have expectations for the future.

All this combines to create stress and stress can create illness and it can turn off people going to work. It isn’t just about laziness and fecklessness. Although the Covid-19 pandemic and the huge generosity in the UK of the furlough scheme I believe engendered a certain amount of laziness in young people but it isn’t their fault. It was the government’s fault.


You can find the desire for nostalgia in all kinds of products such as computers, mobile phones, vinyl records, metal digital cameras which look very much like the old film version. Nikon make these for example and other manufacturers.

Today, in The Times, there’s an article about how tech is getting nostalgic. There is a trend towards clear plastic devices which harks back to the Apple iMac G3. And Apple have introduced Beats Studio Buds headphones with a clear case.

There is a mobile phone producer/retailer called Nothing which is turning out clear Verge phones which hark back to the Apple iMac G3.

Vinyl records are surging in sales. That’s quite clear. They are competing now with CDs.

In my view, the reason for the success of these nostalgic products made today is because young people and indeed older people recognise that life was better in the 60s and 70s and they are nostalgic for those times and they want to be reminded of them with nostalgic products. They want to relive those moments. Go back to them. They can achieve that momentarily by using these products.

Societal pressures

The fact is that in the UK, society is becoming far more pressured. There’s been massive societal change. The workplace has change. Those old-fashioned ideas of working for a company for your entire life have completely disappeared. The cultures of the UK are being eroded dramatically. House prices are too high for the young to get on the property ladder. The UK is nowhere near as good as it was in the 1960s and 70s. Perhaps I am being unrealistically nostalgic. Perhaps my thoughts are misplaced but that’s the way I see it and a lot of people would join me in that.


It isn’t just the young people in the UK who are stressed, it all starts with schoolkids at the age of 10 or 12 who end up self-harming and feeling suicidal. There is a big increase in mental health problems among schoolkids in the UK. The same underlying problems cause this.

Pet ownership

Finally, I come to pet ownership. To be able to afford a companion animal you need a good income; it is expensive to do it properly. A lot of people are giving up their pets at the moment, post-Covid because they’ve found it too expensive and their lifestyles are not really suited to the task.

You really need to be in a stable home, ideally have your own apartment or house. Your companion animal particularly your cat needs to be familiar with their surroundings. If you are renting and moving around this undermines the emotional well-being of a domestic cat companion. Semi-chaotic shared homes are out as far as I am concerned for cats.

Certainly, vet fees in the UK have gone up dramatically. The cost of pet food and pet products have gone up in the UK due to inflation and I would argue exploitation by the veterinary services. It’s all become a bit untenable. An insurance premium on a Maine Coon cat might be as much as a mortgage on a home. Young people have to budget. They don’t see stability as mentioned. They can’t afford their own apartment. They can’t afford to adopt a pet either. The modern world doesn’t allow for that for many people.

Typos: please forgive the odd typo as I have to prepare these articles at breakneck speed (20 mins).

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