OECD Factbook 2013: Economic, Environmental and Social Statistics
branch Education
branch Outcomes
    branch Youth inactivity

Young people who are neither in employment nor in education and training (the “NEET” population) are at risk of becoming socially excluded – individuals with income below the poverty-line and lacking the skills to improve their economic situation.


The indicator presents the share of young people who are neither in education and training nor in employment, as a percentage of the total number of young people in the corresponding age group. Young people in education include those attending part-time as well as full-time education, but exclude those in non-formal education and in educational activities of very short duration. Employment is defined according to the ILO Guidelines and covers all those who have been in paid work for at least one hour in the reference week of the survey or were temporarily absent from such work.


In some countries, young people performing compulsory military service are considered as being NEETs. However, this would not result in a great change to the data shown here.

In Korea, the NEET population includes some people who are not classified as being in formal education, but who are training (in education) for employment or for tertiary entrance examinations.


On average across OECD countries, 18.5% of the 20-24 year-olds and 8.1% of the 15-19 year-olds were neither in school nor at work in 2010.

For OECD countries as a whole, the proportion of the 20-24 year-olds who were neither in employment nor in education increased by 2.5 percentage points between 2008 and 2010, whereas it decreased by 1.6 percentage points between 2000 and 2008. The share of 15-19 year-olds who were not in employment nor in education also declined between 2000 and 2008 (by 1.5 percentage points), while between 2008 and 2010 it has remained broadly stable.

Differences across countries are large: in Luxembourg and the Netherlands less than 8% of young people in the age group 20-24 belonged to the NEET population. The ratio is substantially higher in Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico and Spain, where this figure exceeded 25%, and in Turkey, where the share exceeded 40%.

The ageing of the population and the declining size of the population of 15-19 year-olds in OECD countries should favour employment among young adults. However, during recessionary periods, high general unemployment rates make the transition from school to work substantially more difficult for the younger population, as those with more work experience are favoured over new entrants into the labour market. In addition, when labour market conditions are unfavourable, younger people often tend to stay in education longer, because high unemployment rates drive down the opportunity costs of education.



Further information
Analytical publications
Statistical publications
Online databases
Indicator in PDF Acrobat PDF page

Youth who are not in education nor in employment
    Table in Excel

Youth who are not in education nor in employment in G7 Figure in Excel
Youth who are not in education nor
 in employment in G7
Youth aged between 20 and 24 who are not in education nor in employment Figure in Excel
Youth aged between 20 and 24 who are not in
 education nor in employment

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