Our new research shows the cost of living crisis is hitting young women harder

Why are young women worse affected by the cost of living crisis?  

Young women earn £5,000 on average less a year than young men of the same age. They are therefore more likely to be struggling in the cost-of-living crisis: in debt, struggling to afford the essentials and choosing between heating and eating.  

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Young women are losing hope for the future

Young women are being trapped in jobs where they’re miserable, discriminated against, or even unsafe because they can’t afford to move. They’re losing hope and their talents are going to waste.

Key findings 

  • 56% of young women described their current financial situation as uncomfortable. This has increased from 49% in 2022. In comparison, just over 40% of young men said the same both this year and last – so young men’s experience seems to be stabilising whereas young women’s has got substantially worse. 
  • Almost a third (32%) of young women have been unable to afford food or essential supplies, up from a quarter last year. This compares to 21% of young men. 
  • 1/4 of young women have fallen behind on rent or bills in the last year – only 16% of young men said the same. 


For our 2023 annual survey, we spoke to a representative sample of 4,061 18-30 year old young women in England and Wales and a comparison group of 1,049 young men. Fieldwork was carried out between 19 June and 1 July 2023. 

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