Young people's lives are becoming more difficult, according to a report published this week by the British Youth Council.
The report, Never Had It So Good?, says unemployment among 16 to 25-year-olds is nearly twice the national average at 15.4 per cent.
They are among the lowest paid workers in the country: their pay as a proportion of average earnings fell by up to 8 per cent for men and up to 12 per cent for women between 1985 and 1995.
The report says the benefits safety net for young people has been severely eroded and they are now entitled to less support than over-25s.
Speaking at the launch of the report, Diana Moore, the 25-year-old chair of BYC, said: "The gap between society's expectations of young people and their own experiences is getting wider.
"Many are forced to return home under longer periods of financial dependency on their families, to struggle on lower wages and cope with real hardship.
"You are expected to stand on your own two feet, but as this report shows, that is becoming harder and harder."