The Joseph Rowntree Foundation is to bring greater pressure on the Government to do more to help socially excluded young people after conducting research on growing up in Britain.
The foundation, which spends about £7 million a year on research, compared the lives of people born in 1958 and 1970.
Called "Young people's changing routes to independence", the study discovered that while people born in 1970 are better educated and earn more, they have also experienced a widening income gap between those with good qualifications and those who have none.
The research stated: "There is a need to refocus attention to the significant number of 'excluded' young people, who cannot, and will not, benefit from the improved educational opportunities."
The foundation hopes its findings will help the Government's drive to tackle anti-social behaviour and youth crime.