Back to the future: Nostalgia on the rise as Brits fondly remember decades past

Back to the future: Nostalgia on the rise as Brits fondly remember decades past.

Back to the future: Nostalgia on the rise as Brits fondly remember decades past. Image: Vladimir Sukhachev /

In the last five years, there’s been a noticeable rise in nostalgia for past decades.

With global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic and rising living costs, many people are looking back fondly on earlier times.

Recent data from YouGov shows that Britons tend to view several recent decades as better than the present.

The 1990s and 2000s are particularly favoured, with 57% and 60% respectively expressing this sentiment.

The 2010s also received positive views from 51% of respondents, while 45% feel the same about the 1980s, although 29% disagree.

Opinions vary about the quality of life in the 1960s and 1970s, with about a third of people having different views for each decade.

However, the majority (53%) believe life was worse in the 1950s, and earlier periods are seen even more negatively.

Age plays a significant role in attitudes towards the past, with generational differences appearing from the 1980s onwards.

These differences persist through subsequent decades, with all age groups agreeing that the 1950s were worse than today.

Interestingly, perceptions of the 1990s and 2000s have improved since 2019, with a twenty-five percentage point increase in favourability towards the 2000s and a sixteen-point increase for the 1990s. This trend is observed across all age groups.

Gender also influences views, with men more likely than women to see the present favourably compared to the past.

When asked to choose the best decade, respondents were split between the 2000s and 1990s, with the 1980s and 2010s following closely behind.

Only a minority (9%) consider the current time to be the best.

Interestingly, people tend to prefer the decade corresponding to their own youth, and there are political differences, with Labour voters favouring the 2000s and Conservatives leaning towards the 1980s.

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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from Derbyshire, Anna has lived in the middle of nowhere on the Costa Blanca for 19 years. She is passionate about her animal family including four dogs and four horses, musicals and cooking.