NEETs in Canada in 2018/2019 – 287,400 aged 20 to 24 (12%)

Young people who are not in education, employment or training make up what is known as the NEET population. The NEET indicator has been regularly published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) since the late 1990s, as NEET youth may be at risk of low‑income or social exclusion. At Statistics Canada, the NEET indicator has been part of the annual publication “Education Indicators in Canada: An International Perspective” since its creation in 2009.

The NEET indicator focuses on the transition of young people between school and work, and complements more classic indicators such as unemployment rate, employment rate and labour market participation rate. It is intended to quantify the proportion of young people who do not follow a traditional path (i.e., go to school, then get a job) and who find themselves outside of the educational system and without work. Young people are therefore classified according to three mutually exclusive categories: young people who are attending school, young people who are working and no longer attend school, and young people who are NEETs. Young NEETs form a heterogeneous group, and it is important, when possible, to study them based on different age groups (see text box) and type of NEET—unemployed NEETs who are looking for work, and inactive NEETsNote  who are not looking for work.

  • This fact sheet presents the NEET indicator for young people aged 20 to 24. It is the last in a series of three fact sheets that examine the NEET population in Canada based on the three age groups that are usually considered when studying the transition from school to work (young people aged 15 to 19, 20 to 24, and 25 to 29).
  • Data from the Labour Force Survey are used to classify young people according to three mutually exclusive categories: young people in education, young people who work and no longer attend school, and young people who are NEETs, that is, not in employment or education.
  • Among young Canadians aged 20 to 24 in 2018/2019, 45% were no longer in school and were working, while 43% were still in school. Women were more likely to be in school than men, whereas men were more likely to be working and no longer in school.
  • In 2018/2019, 287,400 young Canadians aged 20 to 24 (12%) were NEETs, with rates ranging between 10% and 17% among the provinces. In each province, the NEET rate was similar for men and women.
  • For several years, Canadian women aged 20 to 24 have had lower NEET rates than the average for women of the same age in OECD countries.
    Young people aged 20 to 24 without a high school diploma are particularly at risk of finding themselves in a NEET situation and more likely to be permanently unable to work than those with more schooling. In 2018/2019, 37% of young people who did not have their high school diploma were in a NEET situation, a proportion that was higher among women (47%) than men (30%).
  • A low proportion of young people aged 20 to 24 have children, but the presence of children in households significantly affects the participation of women in the labour market.
  • Aboriginal youth (excluding those on reserves) have higher NEET rates than youth overall for both women and men. In 2018/2019, the NEET rate for Aboriginal young people aged 20 to 24 was 23%, whereas it was 12% for the overall population of the same age.
    In 2018/2019, immigrants aged 20 to 24 were more likely to be studying and less likely to be employed and no longer in school than non‑immigrants. However, the NEET rates of the two groups were similar. In contrast, the same pattern is not observed among youth aged 25 to 29. For this older age group, immigrant women were more likely than non‑immigrant women to find themselves out of the labour force.
  • In 2018/2019, NEET rates of young people aged 20 to 24 were generally not significantly different between population centres and rural areas. However, young people aged 20 to 24 in rural areas were more likely to work and no longer be in school, while the same group in population centres was more likely than rural youth to still be in school.
    Most NEETs aged 20 to 24 who were out of the labour force did not want a job.
  • Among Canadians aged 20 to 24, NEETs were more likely than employed young people or students to have a partner who was also NEET. This type of social homogamy could lead to a precarious situation for households in which there are no employed adults.

Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story at The transition from school to work: the NEET (not in employment, education or training) indicator for 20- to 24-year-olds in Canada


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