Data on NEETs in Europe

Among the various economic data concerning young people, there is a very interesting parameter. It is the NEETs. What does NEET mean, how many are there in Europe? Which countries have the most NEETs? We will try to answer these and other questions in this new article: NEETs in Europe.

What are NEETs?

Let’s start with a first question. What are NEETs? NEETs are young people – with an age that can vary depending on the parameter – who are neither employed nor in education or training. As mentioned, the calculation is made for different age groups. 15 to 30, 19 to 30 etc. The data we are going to analyse today are those for the 20-34 age group.

The countries in Europe with the most NEETs

The definition of NEETs is now clear. But how many are there in percentage? Which are the countries with the most NEETs between 20 and 34 years old? If we look at the data published by Eurostat we see that in first place in 2020 is Montenegro where 34% of 20-34 year olds are NEET. In second place, however, we find one of the main countries in terms of world manufacturing. Italy has 29.4% of young people in this condition. Almost one out of three young people in Italy is neither working nor studying. Next in line are Greece, where the figure is 25.9%, Serbia with 23.8% and Spain with 22.3%. In total there are eight countries with more than 20%, the last one being Romania with 20.2% of NEETs.

We know how the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in 2020, has affected certain categories of workers. Particularly women and young people. But how was the situation in 2019? In first place among the countries with the most NEETs in Europe was still Montenegro with 28.8% followed by Italy and Greece. Although the percentage of NEETs from 2019 to 2020 increased by almost two points in Italy, the figure was already very high the year before Covid-19. Spain, on the other hand, was most affected by the crisis, rising from 18.7% in 2019 to 22.3% in 2020, an increase of 3.6 points in just one year.

The percentage of NEETs in Europe from 2002 to 2020

But how has the percentage of NEETs in the European Union evolved from 2002 to 2020? Let’s consider data from the 27-country European Union (excluding the recently exited United Kingdom).

The percentage of NEETs in the EU in 2020 is about 18%, up from 2019. But in general we can see that from 2002 to 2007/2008 there was a positive trend. With the financial crisis first, in 2009, and the debt crisis, from 2011 onwards, the number of NEETs in the European Union started to increase again. From 2015 onwards we can see a continuous decrease.

Source and Data

The data used for this article and video are from Eurostat.

The NEET data refer to the population aged 20-34. Data for other age groups can also be analysed on the Eurostat website.

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