The Tribes

To better understand the attitudes of young people in Britain today, we have created a new segmentation model of seven groups, each containing people with…

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Chapter : The Tribes

To better understand the attitudes of young people in Britain today, we have created a new segmentation model of seven groups, each containing people with a similar worldview. This helps us to understand how views on particular issues interact and overlap. This should not be interpreted on a left to right political axis, nor simply on the strength of people’s attitudes to particular subjects or issues.

Because young people are overall more socially liberal, we have several groups who hold progressive views, although hold these to different strengths and place value on different things. Aspirational liberals hold socially progressive views, but their focus is away from politics and more towards their own prospects.

Disengaged progressives share similar social views, but feel detached from the political system. Established liberals and leftist activists hold very strong progressive values, although the former embrace the political system whereas the latter reject mainstream politics and don’t trust the Government.

We find a relatively large apathetic section, who are largely indifferent around political issues and a more ambivalent group, the sceptical ambivalents, who have mixed views on social issues, but generally feel they are well represented by the political system.

Finally, the reactionary conservative group hold the most conservative views of all the tribes. Although their views on some social issues, such as immigration, is mixed, they are more likely to feel disenfranchised and reject political correctness and there is a proportion, although small, within this group who engage with racist conspiracies and far right ideologies.

Although these tribes are not constructed on demographic or socioeconomic indicators, there are some clear divides in how demographic and socioeconomic groups concentrate. Female respondents are over-represented in the more progressive groups, while male respondents are more heavily concentrated in the conservative leaning groups. Students and graduates are more likely to be in the progressive groups, while those in work are more likely to be in the conservative or apathetic groups. Those out of work are more likely to fall into the anti-establishment groups. BAME respondents are split across the groups, but African and Pakistani respondents are more likely to fall into the anti-establishment groups, while Indian, Eastern European and Bangladeshi respondents are more likely to fall into moderate groups.

Reactionary Conservatives

This group are the most politically right-wing of all the tribes, and are motivated to react to political correctness. Most do not hold particularly strong anti-immigrant views or feel that multiculturalism has undermined British culture. While some are rejectionist, most show apathy or soft support for these issues. However they are more likely to believe that ‘feminism has gone too far’, that discrimination against white people is a serious problem, or that you ‘can’t be proud of national identity without being racist’. They are far less likely than the other groups to think that making a joke based on someone’s race or religion is offensive, and between 15% to 30% of this group consume alternative right wing media or follow far-right figures.

This group is made up of more male than female respondents, and has a lower number of students overall. They are less likely to be graduates, and generally place less importance on education. They are more likely to be C2DE or from low income households and many are economically anxious.

Sceptical Ambivalents

This group are more likely to feel they are well represented by the political system, have active lives and are most confident about their own futures. They are most positive about Brexit and are least likely to attribute concerns about the future to the impact of Covid-19, but many feel pessimistic for the future and disappointed with their lives so far.

This group tend to hold stronger views on social issues, but these views are often contradictory. While this group contains some religious conservatives as well as some with more right wing views, which may explain their relative lack of support for gay couples to adopt children and scepticism around feminism, they are more liberal when given real-life situations, such as feeling comfortable if someone asked them to use gender neutral pronouns such as ‘they’. Many in this group believe conspiracy theories, and they are more likely than the overall sample to look for alternative media sources.

This group are more male, less likely to be students, and more likely to be older and in work. A higher proportion are religious.


As the name would suggest, this tribe are most indifferent about key political and social issues. They are more optimistic and happy with their lives, and have softly socially liberal views, but tend to keep these to themselves. They are conformists, and are least likely to support all forms of political action, including voting, reflecting their disenchantment with the political system. This group is slightly more male, slightly more likely to be in work than studying, and most do not disclose their income.

Aspirational liberals

This group hold progressive views on a range of political and social issues, but their focus is away from politics and more on their own prospects. They are economically anxious, and are most concerned about a lack of decent work or failing to achieve in the education system. Although their values are far more progressive than the national average, they are typical of their generation and are generally more apathetic about political action. The group is non-religious, slightly more female than male, is slightly younger, contains a higher number of students and unemployed people, and has a slightly smaller BAME population.

Disengaged progressives

This group hold strongly progressive views on social issues like LGBT+ rights, immigration and multiculturalism, but are not politically motivated in the same way as the established liberals or leftist activists, though they spend most time on social media. They are most likely to reject the political system, and more than three quarters of this tribe think that voting is pointless because politicians will always ignore the views of people like them. They are most likely to feel under pressure in their day-to-day lives and to feel more judged on how they look than how they act. This also reflects their demographic make up, as more female and younger. This group are most concerned about the impact of coronavirus on their future Their disengagement with the political system might explain their more conservative views on issues like taxation and prison reform than other liberal groups, and that they are more likely to believe conspiracy theories, though they mostly reject those rooted in racism.

Established liberals

This group hold strongly progressive social attitudes and feel most confident about finding change within existing structures. They are most likely to see the importance of voting, support non-violent protest, and have a higher degree of trust in the political system than most, although they do not feel that political debate currently reflects the interests of young people. They oppose Brexit and worry about the impact of coronavirus in the long term, and are most likely to watch the news. A young group with a high proportion of students, they value education, and most are confident and comfortable in their own lives. They are generally trusting of authority figures and value their relationships with family and friends. This tribe are more mixed in terms of gender than the other groups, are slightly younger, and are more likely to be in social grades ABC1.

Leftist activists

This group hold the most progressive social attitudes of all the tribes, have strong values of community and compassion, strongly oppose inequality and are vocal in calling out racism, sexism but don’t trust the political system to achieve their aims.

They neither trust, nor like the government, and many feel pessimistic for the future, concerned about the impact of coronavirus and Brexit on their opportunities in life. They are most likely to feel that politicians don’t care what young people think and are angry at older generations for making political decisions like voting for Brexit that their generation will have to live with. They see poverty and climate change as the biggest issues facing the country, greater concerns for this tribe than the economy, and they are most to see mental health as a problem they face personally.

This group are mostly female and the majority are students. They are least likely to be religious. They spend more time on Twitter than Facebook and are most likely to report having seen or experienced racism on social media, violence or threats of violence and sexual harassment.


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