Education, employment, both or neither? What are young people doing in the EU?

Education, employment, both or neither? What are young people doing in the EU?

Education, employment, both or neither? What are young people doing in the EU?

The FINANCIAL -- The European Union (EU) totals almost 90 million people aged 15-29, representing 17% of its population. These young people are in very different situations, with education and employment patterns varying considerably between Member States and by age group.

Between the ages of 15 and 29, a clear and significant shift occurs from the world of education to the world of employment. While in the 15-19 age group the vast majority of people in the EU were in education in 2015, the opposite is true for those aged 25-29: most of them were in employment. In-between, young people aged 20-24 were relatively evenly distributed between education and employment. Moreover, the proportion of young people neither in employment nor in education or training (NEET) increases considerably with age. The NEET rate, which stood at 6.3% for the age group 15-19 in 2015, almost tripled to 17.3% for the age group 20-24 and reached almost 1 young person in 5 aged 25-29 (19.7%).

This information is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the eve of the International Youth Day. This News Release shows only a small selection of the wide range of data related to young people in the EU available at Eurostat.

Largest share of NEET aged 20-24 in Italy and Greece, lowest in the Netherlands and Luxembourg

In 2015 across Member States, more than 1 in every 4 young persons aged 20-24 was neither in employment nor in education or training in Italy (31.1%) as well as in Greece (26.1%) and more than 1 in every 5 was also in this situation in Croatia (24.2%), Romania (24.1%), Bulgaria (24.0%), Spain and Cyprus (both 22.2%). In contrast, the lowest NEET rates among young persons aged 20-24 were recorded in the Netherlands (7.2%), Luxembourg (8.8%), Denmark, Germany and Sweden (all 9.3%), Malta and Austria (both 9.8%) as well as the Czech Republic (10.8%).

At EU level, almost 5 million young persons aged 20-24 (or 17.3%) were in 2015 neither in employment nor in education or training.

Highest increase in NEET rate in Italy, Greece and Spain, highest drop in Germany and Bulgaria

Although the proportion of young people aged 20-24 neither in employment nor in education or training remained relatively stable in the EU as a whole between 2006 and 2015, important changes occurred over the last decade in Member States. In ten of them, the NEET rate has decreased, with the most significant reductions being registered in Germany (from 15.2% in 2006 to 9.3% in 2015, or -5.9 percentage points – pp), Bulgaria (-5.3 pp), Sweden (-3.4 pp), the Czech Republic (-2.9 pp) and Poland (-2.8 pp). In the other eighteen Member States, the situation has deteriorated, with the proportion of persons aged 20-24 neither in employment nor in education or training increasing notably in Italy (from 21.6% to 31.1%, or +9.5 pp), Greece (+9.3 pp), Spain (+9.0 pp), Cyprus (+8.5 pp), Ireland (+7.8 pp), Croatia (+5.4 pp), Romania (+5.2 pp), Portugal (+4.9 pp), the United Kingdom (+4.4 pp) Denmark (+4.3 pp) and Finland (+4.1 pp).