In a time where young people are now growing up with a slab of pocket-sized plastic that can provide the answers to any question they may have about the world, it seems unlikely that traditional superstitions would continue to endure in younger generations. Although they are on the decline, they have not quite disappeared yet.
New research by Ladbrokes Games into superstitions held by people who play online games aimed to find out what people did to bring them good luck, or avoid bad luck, when they played. Carried out on behalf of the betting expert by TLF, the survey found that over half of people in the UK and Ireland (54%) still believe in at least one superstition, but the likelihood of this varies with age.
“Young people are increasingly less likely to believe in a superstition, but those that do are finding new options”
The over-65s are the most superstitious group of all, with 71% of them believing in the British Isles’ most popular superstition of touching wood for good luck. As expected, the 55 to 64 age group follows suit with 68% of people believing the same.
Things change in the 45 to 54 age group, where the most common superstition switches to receiving bad luck for walking under ladders. 62% in this group believe in it, as do 51% of 35 to 44-year-olds, again the most popular choice.
The 25 to 34 age group contains a lower percentage of people that believe in superstitions once again – 39% in total. Their most common belief is actually a dead heat between wood and ladders. It’s the under-25s that rock the boat, both in that they are more superstitious than the older age group, and their most commonly held superstitions are totally different – 45% own a lucky item of clothing, something that is not at all common for older people – less than 20% of people over 35 put any faith in a lucky garment.
While there is a sharp drop around the mid-30s resulting in people designated as ‘millenials’ being 10% less likely to hold superstitions than Generation X before them, those over 25 are more in line with the older generations than those aged 24 and under. The rapid cultural and technological changes of the 90s appear to have made people slightly more superstitious once again, favouring slightly different methods to bring good luck and keep the bad luck away.
Commenting on the findings, Alex Donohue at Ladbrokes said: “The figures show that we’re still a superstitious bunch in the UK and Ireland, and our beliefs are definitely changing with the times. Even as we leave old methods behind, we’re finding new ways to improve our luck.”