Looking for the latest statistics on peer pressure? We’ve got you covered.
It can be hard to find relevant statistics on peer pressure. You might have been looking for hours, and you’re still coming up empty-handed.
We know how frustrating that can be. We also know that this is a topic people care about—and we want to help you find what you need as quickly and easily as possible. That’s why we put together this list of peer pressure statistics, so you can get back to doing what matters most: living your best life!
But first, when we talk about peer pressure, what exactly do we mean? Peer pressure happens when someone else tries to get you to change your behavior or beliefs by making you feel bad about yourself or putting you down in some way. It can be as simple as telling them that their outfit doesn’t look good or asking them why they’re eating that food because it’s not “cool.”
We understand that peer pressure is something that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. It can be incredibly challenging to deal with when we’re young, but it’s even more difficult as we get older and start working with others who may not share our opinions or beliefs.
That’s why we’ve taken the time to compile this list: so that no matter where you are in life, you’ll have access to all of the information you need about peer pressure right at your fingertips!
Peer Pressure Statistics (The Highlights)
- Only 10% of adolescents say they have never been influenced by peer pressure.
- 34% of people are more likely to donate when asked to in front of their peers.
- 61% of the teens in the US feel pressured to have good grades.
- 29% of teenagers feel a lot of pressure to look good.
- 70% of teens who smoke say they started it because their friends were smoking.
- 60% of drinkers between the ages of 18 and 34 say pressure to drink is prevalent among their peers.
- 48% of teens between 12 and 17 say they feel a lot of pressure about sex and relationships.
- 41% of teens have sex because they don’t want to be teased about being a virgin.
General Peer Pressure Statistics
1. Only 10% of adolescents say they have never been influenced by peer pressure.
This means that nine in ten (90%) of kids have done something they wouldn’t do if it weren’t for the pressure from their peers.
For example, 46% of teens say they teased someone only because their friends also teased that person first. However, while 28% of kids feel succumbing to peer pressure can help them climb the social ladder, another 40% believe peer pressure only distracts them from reaching their personal goals.
Another study found that 85% of high school students reported feeling peer pressure.
It’s important to note that this statistic only reflects what students reported—it’s possible that there are other factors at play here, like the fact that some students may not be comfortable speaking up about their experiences with pressure from their peers.
Regardless, the findings are significant and should be taken seriously.
(Parent Further, Choosing Therapy)
2. 38% of people admit to pressuring their friends into doing something they are not comfortable with.
Peer pressure is real. It’s the reason why you got your first piercing, or why you smoked your first cigarette, or why you polished off that entire box of Oreos in one sitting.
Incidentally, 38% is also the share of people who say they were pressured into doing something bad for their health by someone else. A slightly smaller portion of people, or 34%, say they were pressured into doing something illegal.
The percentage of people who believe that there are choices they wouldn’t make if they weren’t pressured into them is 41%.
3. 50% of people have lied to their friends about liking something so they wouldn’t get made fun of.
Another 38% say they’ve lied to their parents because their friends told them to do so.
However, peer pressure is not only prevalent among teenagers. While 16% of people say they feel less peer pressure as adults, 33% say they still experience it to some degree, while 16% feel the same amount of peer pressure as in their adolescent years.
Additionally, the largest portion, or 38%, of people believe that peer pressure affects all teens, regardless of their financial situation. Finally, 44% of people agree that sometimes, depending on the situation, peer pressure can be a good thing.
4. 19% of teenagers say they would stop using their cell phone while driving only if their friends did the same.
Statistics show that 56% of teens talk on the phone, and 13% text while driving.
Even though 89% of teens say that their parents have the most influence over their driving habits, peer pressure also plays a significant role because 44% of them drive better without their friends in the car.
(Teen Driver Source, Allstate Newsroom, Teens Love To Know)
5. 34% of people are more likely to donate when asked to in front of their peers.
This type of peer pressure is more prevalent among men, as 43% of them agree with the above statement, while the share of women who agree is 39%.
Furthermore, Millennials are the most likely to give in to peer pressure regarding donations, with 47%, followed by Gen Zers with 42%, and Gen Xers with 39%. Baby Boomers seem to be the least affected by this sort of peer pressure, as only 16% of them say being asked to donate in front of others makes them more likely to do so.
6. 60% of American adults said they faced pressure from their peers to spend money.
You’ve probably heard that peer pressure is a thing, but you may not have realized just how prevalent it is in our daily lives.
We’ve all been there: it’s Friday night, and your friends are at the bar. You’ve got $20 in your pocket, but the drinks are $10 each. What do you do? You could buy one drink—but if everyone else is buying two or three drinks, how will you be able to keep up? And if you don’t buy a drink, will people think you’re broke? (Or worse: will they think you’re cheap?)
A new poll from TurboTax found that 60% of American adults reported being pressured by friends and family members to spend money they don’t have on things they don’t need.
It’s no wonder we’re all so stressed out about money!
So what does this mean for us? It means that we need to be aware of the pressures that influence our spending decisions—even if they don’t always seem like pressures at all. It also means that we should take steps to protect ourselves from these pressures and make sure that we are making decisions based on our own values and needs—not anyone else’s!
7. 62% of UK parents surveyed said that their children are affected by peer pressure.
If you’re a parent, chances are you know the feeling: your kid comes home from school and says that their friends are doing it, so they have to do it too.
It’s also the reason why we’re not surprised that when surveyed, 62% of UK parents agreed that their children are affected by peer pressure.
But as parents, what can we do about it? The answer is simple: talk with our kids about it! We need to be open and honest about our experiences with peer pressure so that our kids will feel comfortable coming to us if they’re feeling like they might fall prey to it.
8. 47% of Americans admit that peer pressure from friends leads them to make impulse purchases.
(First Internet Bank)
Peer pressure can be a powerful force, and it can lead to some pretty interesting habits. While some of us might think that we’re immune to it, the truth is that even the most independent-minded among us can be swayed by our friends.
According to a recent survey, 47% of Americans admit that they’ve made an impulse purchase because they felt pressured by their friends.
That’s a lot of impulse buys!
And while this statistic isn’t surprising—who hasn’t been swayed by an opinionated friend?—it does highlight the importance of having a solid plan for saving money and sticking to it.
If you want to make sure your friends don’t influence you into spending more than you should, consider setting up an automatic savings plan or putting your savings goals into writing so you can keep them front of mind when you’re tempted by those impulse buys.
9. 16% of US adults say that peer pressure is the reason they continue to eat foods that make them uncomfortable.
Whether it’s your friends pressuring you to drink alcohol or eat unhealthy food, or your parents pressuring you to get good grades in school—peer pressure can be hard to resist. But what happens when peer pressure isn’t directly coming from other people? What if it’s coming from yourself?
According to a recent study, 16% of people cite peer pressure as the reason they continue to consume food that discomforts them. That means that nearly one in six people are continuing to eat foods they don’t like or feel bad about eating because it’s what their friends do or because their friends expect them to do it.
We know—it’s pretty startling to see a stat like that. But it actually makes sense when you think about it. We’re social animals, and we love being part of a group. Sometimes, we’ll do things just because our friends do them. And sometimes those things aren’t so great for us (like eating something that makes us feel uncomfortable).
The good news is that there are lots of ways we can combat peer pressure in our lives. For example, if you’re feeling pressured by friends to eat something unhealthy or unappealing, don’t be afraid to tell them no! You can always find some other way to bond with your friends, like going out for coffee or going on a walk together.
And if you ever find yourself feeling uncomfortable around food? Don’t worry! It’s totally normal—we all have triggers sometimes. But once again: don’t be afraid to say no!
Teenage Peer Pressure Statistics
In addition, 39% say they feel pressure to post content that is likely to be popular and get plenty of likes and comments. At the same time, 21% of teens feel bad about their own life because of the content their peers share on social media.
11. 61% of the teens in the US feel pressured to have good grades.
A large number of high schoolers say they feel pressure to do well academically, and a similar percentage, 59%, say they plan on attending a four-year college. More precisely, 68% of girls and 51% of boys have a four-year college in their plans.
Similarly, a larger portion, or 37%, of girls worry about getting into a school of their choice, while the share of boys who worry about this is much lower at 26%.
Finally, 48% of girls worry about never getting in trouble in school, while only 33% of the boys share this concern.
12. 29% of teenagers feel a lot of pressure to look good.
Girls are more likely to feel this type of pressure, with a share of 35% of them saying they do, while the portion of boys who feel this way is 23%.
Almost the same percentage of teens, or 28%, say they feel pressured to fit in socially and 21% to be involved in extracurricular activities. Another 21% say they feel pressured to be good at sports.
13. 95% of teens say it is very important they have a job or a career they enjoy as adults.
While the share of boys and girls feeling this way is almost the same, the percentage of girls who worry about this is slightly higher at 97%, while it is 93% for the boys.
However, boys are considerably more worried about having a lot of money as adults than girls. To be precise, 61% of the boys feel this way, while 41% of the girls feel the same.
Additionally, 14% of the boys think it is very important they become famous as adults, while only 9% of the girls agree.
14. 47% of teenagers believe getting married is very important.
Exactly half, or 50%, of the boys, agree that it is very important to get married later in life. The share of girls who feel this way is slightly lower at 45%.
However, a very similar percentage of boys and girls agree that it is very important to have children. Girls are slightly more likely to think this way with 41%, while the share of boys who agree is 39%.
Substance Abuse and Peer Pressure Statistics
15. 70% of teens who smoke say they started it because their friends were smoking.
Peer pressure is the number one reason teenagers start smoking. In addition, the same percentage of 70% of teenagers had their first cigarette in or before 9th grade.
Furthermore, 49% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 get their cigarettes from a friend or someone else they know.
(Lung, HC-SC, Peelregion)
According to research, peer pressure is one of the leading causes of underage drinking, and as the statistics show, there is a lot of underage drinking going on.
For example, a recent survey reveals that 7 million people between 12 and 20 drank alcohol in the past month. Moreover, 4.2 million of these young people reported binge drinking in the same period, while 825,000 binge drank in the last five days.
(Drug Free, NIAAA)
17. 60% of drinkers between the ages of 18 and 34 say pressure to drink is prevalent among their peers.
Peer pressure to drink is at its highest among people from the above age group. In comparison, only 29% of drinkers between the ages of 35 and 54 say they are pressured into drinking more, and only 20% of those that are more than 55 years old.
Additionally, 31% say they know a student who sells illegal drugs in their school, and most of them, or 91%, say they know someone who sells marijuana.
In 2021, the number of 12th graders who admitted illicit drug use in the last 12 months was 32%, slightly lower than the 36.8% in 2020. Furthermore, 18.7% of 10th and 10.2% of 8th graders also reported substance abuse in 2021 as well.
(Drug Free, NIDA)
19. In aggregate, 86% of US high school students know someone from their school who either drinks, smokes, or uses drugs during the school day.
Additionally, 52% of the students say they know of a place on the school grounds where their peers go and use drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke. Moreover, 36% also believe it is easy for students to participate in these activities on school premises without getting caught.
Sex and Peer Pressure Statistics
20. 48% of teens between 12 and 17 say they feel a lot of pressure about sex and relationships.
Additionally, 24% of teen girls between 15 and 19 describe their first sexual experience as voluntary but unwanted. Moreover, more than a third, or 36%, of teens between 13 and 18 say they have done or at least felt pressure to do something sexual that they were not comfortable doing.
Finally, 10% of female teens and 5% of male teens say they have been forced to have sexual intercourse when they didn’t want to.
21. 53% of girls between 11 and 21 say they feel pressure to exercise and become thin.
Additionally, 48% say they feel pressure to diet. Pressure for dieting is more prevalent among girls between 17 and 21, 56% of which feel this way.
What’s scarier is that even 15% of girls between seven and ten say they feel pressure to diet, while 13% of girls aged between 11 and 16 say they feel pressure to dress in a sexy way.
The percentage of girls between 17 and 21 who feel pressured to dress in a certain way is almost three times higher at 39%.
22. 37% of girls feel they should try and look like the girls they see in the media.
According to a recent survey, 33% believe they have a higher chance of being successful if they look like celebrities. However, this percentage rises to 43% if we only consider the answers from girls between 17 and 21.
Furthermore, 45% of girls say they sometimes feel shame for not looking like female celebrities. As a result, 56% feel they should spend considerable time preparing before going out.
Finally, 39% of girls between 11 and 21 say they do not partake in certain activities because they are self-conscious about their appearance, while 30% even take less part in the classroom for this reason.
23. 41% of teens have sex because they don’t want to be teased about being a virgin.
While the majority, or 55%, of teens have sex because they think they are ready, 41% do it because someone is pressuring them. Another 41% say they have sex because they are curious about it, and 34% say that the media made it seem normal for them to have sex.
However, statistics also show that 55% of teens have sex while drunk or on drugs.
24. One in three boys between the ages of 15 and 17 say they feel pressured to have sex.
Contrary to the popular portrait of boys pressuring girls into sex, boys feel more pressure to have sex, particularly from other boys their age. This type of peer pressure also exists among girls but is less prevalent, with 23% feeling pressured.
There are few things more frustrating than feeling like you can’t do something because everyone around you is doing it—or seems to be doing well. It’s important that we recognize and face these types of peer pressure statistics head-on so that we can reach our goals the way we see fit and without any pressure!
We hope that by going through these peer pressure stats presented in an objective manner, you have been able to gain a better understanding of the power that others wield over you and how to use it constructively.
By being mindful of the ways in which others can influence your decisions, you can take control of your life and make the choices that are right for you.
Until next time, stay strong and keep moving forward!