Young people - social inclusion
Data extracted in August 2016. Most recent data: Further Eurostat information, Main tables and Database. Planned update: July 2018.
This article presents statistics on the social inclusion of young people (aged 16–29) in the European Union (EU-28) and the EFTA countries. The analysis focuses on the indicator at risk of poverty or social exclusion (AROPE) and its sub-components (at-risk-of-poverty rate, severe material deprivation rate and households with very low work intensity). It also provides information on young people living with and not living with their parents. Comparisons by age groups and gender are also provided.
As a general principle, this article refers to the population aged 16–29; however, in some cases the available data refer to the 15–29 age group.
- 1 Main statistical findings
- 2 Data sources and availability
- 3 Context
- 4 See also
- 5 Further Eurostat information
- 6 External links
- 7 Notes
Main statistical findings
Living with parents
In 2014, the share of young people (aged 16–29) living with their parents was 66.2 % of the total young population in the European Union (EU-28). Broken down by gender, 71.8 % of young males and 60.4 % of young females were living with their parents, thus with a gap of 11.4 pp between genders.
Figure 1 shows the share of young people (aged 16–29) living with their parents, by country and gender in 2014. In every country the proportion of females living in the parental home was lower than that of males. The largest gender gaps were observed in Bulgaria (21.0 percentage points (pp)) and Romania (19.3 pp), and the lowest were in Portugal and Denmark (both 7.3 pp) and Sweden (5.8 pp). The largest share of young men living with their parents was recorded in Croatia (90.3 %), Slovakia (87.0 %), Italy and Malta (both 87.2 %), while for young women it was in Portugal (76.4 %), Slovakia (77.4 %) and Italy (77.8 %).
Figure 2 shows the differences between the age groups at country level in 2014. Since being in education is an obvious reason for young people aged 16–19 to stay in the parental home, the vast majority of adolescents were living with their parents in all EU Member States in 2014. The highest share was recorded in Luxembourg (99.0 %), followed by Malta, Italy, Croatia, Cyprus, Poland, the Netherlands and the Czech Republic (all between 98.0 % and 99.0 %). The remaining EU Member States reported shares higher than 90.0 % for this age group. The lowest shares were recorded in the United Kingdom (91.9 %), Bulgaria (91.5 %) and Sweden (90.7 %).
Among young people aged over 20 years, there were significant variations between EU Member States. For the age group 20–24, the share of young people living with their parents fell below 40 % in Sweden and below 30 % in Finland, and was just above 20 % in Denmark. In comparison, in Slovakia, Slovenia, Malta, Croatia and Italy more than 90 % of young people in this age group lived with their parents. In all Member States, the share of young people living with their parents is lower in the age group 25–29 than in younger age groups, falling below 6.0 % in Sweden and Finland, and below 5.0 % in Denmark, while remaining highest in Slovakia (68.6 %), Greece (68.0 %) and Croatia (67.7 %).
The at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion indicator (AROPE) is based on three indicators: at-risk-of-poverty rate, severe material deprivation rate and households with very low work intensity. People at risk of poverty or social exclusion are defined as the share of the population being in at least one of the three situations.
In 2014, the AROPE rate for young people aged 15–29 was 29.8 % in the EU-28, corresponding to about 25.9 million young people. The number of young people at risk of poverty or social exclusion decreased by 2.1 pp from 2006 to 2009, but increased by 3.9 pp over the period 2009–14 (see Figure 3).
Figure 3 shows that young females (aged 15–29) had slightly higher AROPE rates than males in 2014 (30.3 % vs. 29.3 %). The overall increase, when compared with 2006, was slightly higher for men (2.0 pp) than for women (1.7 pp), and also when compared with 2009 (4.2 pp for men, 3.6 pp for women). Table 1 shows that in 2014 women aged 16-29 had higher AROPE rates than males in 16 Member States, with the difference being highest in the Czech Republic (4.0 pp), followed by Latvia (3.2 pp) and Germany (2.7 pp). In the remaining 12 Member States, women had lower AROPE rates than men; the biggest differences were observed in Sweden (2.9 pp), Cyprus (2.6 pp) and Portugal (2.5 pp). However, the largest differences between sexes were recorded in Switzerland and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia: in Switzerland, the AROPE rate of men was 4.5 pp lower than that of women; in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia the opposite situation was found where the AROPE rate of women was 4.6 pp lower.
In 2014, the EU Member States with the highest levels of young people (aged 16–29) at risk of poverty or social exclusion were Greece (47.9 %), Romania (44.0 %) and Bulgaria (39.0 %), while the lowest rates were found in Slovakia (18.1 %) and the Czech Republic (16.3 %) (Table 1).
Table 2 shows that, in 2014, in the majority of EU Member States the AROPE rate for young people aged 16-29 was lower for those living with their parents than for those who were not — exceptions were Poland, Latvia, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Luxembourg , where the share of young people living with their parents and being at risk of poverty or social exclusion was higher than for those who were not living in the parental home. As regards the EFTA countries, the AROPE rate was lower among young people living with their parents, following the same trend as the majority of EU-28 Member States; the difference was smallest in Switzerland and greatest in Norway. These differences were more significant in some Member States than in others. In Denmark, the AROPE rate for young people living on their own was 4 times as high as for those living with their parents (49.9 % vs. 12.2 %). Similar patterns could be found in Austria, Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and Finland, but in these cases the rates were about twice as high for those not living with their parents than for those still living with them.
In all EU-28 Member States and EFTA countries, teenagers aged 16-19 who were not living with parents were at significantly higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than those who lived with parents. In the Netherlands, the AROPE rate for young people aged 16-19 living on their own was almost 6 times as high as for those living with their parents (93.7 % vs. 16.3 %) and in Sweden over 5 times higher (83.2 % vs. 15.7 %). Similar patterns could be found in the remaining Member States, but in these cases the rates were about twice as high for those not living with their parents than for those still living with them. The lowest difference was noted in Italy where the rate of young people aged 16-19 living on their own was 1.5 times as high as for those living with their parents (49.4 % vs. 35.9 %) (see Table 2).
Among young people aged 20-24, as was observed in the younger age group, those who were not living with their parents were at significantly higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than those who lived with their parents. In Sweden and Denmark, the AROPE rate for young people aged 20-24 living on their own was around 5 times as high as for those living with their parents (46.9 % vs. 8.9 % and 65.7 % vs. 12.7 % respectively). Similar patterns could be found in the remaining Member States, but in these cases the rates were around 1.5 times as high for those not living with their parents than for those still living with them.
In general, persons aged 25-29 were at lower risk of poverty or social exclusion than younger persons. In 10 Member States young people in this age group living on their own were at a lower risk of poverty and social exclusion than those living with parents. However, in few Member States, there was the opposite pattern for this age group: persons who were not living with parents were at significantly higher risk of poverty or social exclusion than those who lived with parents.
At-risk-of-poverty rate of young people
The at-risk-of-poverty rate measures poverty in relative terms. This indicator defines a relative poverty threshold, at 60 % of the net median equivalised disposable income, considering as being at-risk-of-poverty the population segment below this threshold.
The share of young people (aged 15–29) at risk of poverty at EU-28 level increased by 3.2 pp between 2006 and 2014 (from 18.3 % to 21.5 %). Over time, this rate has increased in all age groups, while remaining highest in the younger age group (see Figure 4). The largest increase was observed for young people aged 20–24 (+ 4.3 pp) from 19.5 % in 2006 to 23.8 % in 2014.
In 2014, slight differences were noted in the at-risk-of-poverty rate for women and men (Table 3). At EU-28 level, the difference was 1.5 pp, where the at-risk-of-poverty rate for men was 20.8 % and 22.3 % for women. In the majority of EU-28 Member States, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was higher for women. In France, the Czech Republic and Slovenia, the percentage of women at risk of poverty was higher than men by around 3 pp (3.2 pp in France, 3.1 pp in the Czech Republic and 2.9 pp in Slovenia). However, in a few countries the situation was the reverse e.g. in Sweden, Estonia and Finland women had a lower at-risk-of-poverty rate than men (by 3.2 pp in Sweden, 2.2 pp in Estonia and 1.8 pp in Finland). In the Netherlands, there was no difference in the at-risk-of-poverty rate between men and women aged 15-29 (Table 3).
Table 4 presents the at-risk-of-poverty rates for young people aged 16 to 29 in the EU-28 Member States, by age group and by living or not living with parents, for the year 2014. The highest rates of young people at risk of poverty were observed among adolescents (age group 16–19) living in a household other than parental (54.0 % at EU-28 level), followed by young people aged 20–24 (35.8 %) of the same category. Young people living with parents reported lower rates of at-risk-of-poverty in all age subgroups.
Figure 5 shows that in 10 of the EU-28 Member States, living or not in the parental household did not result in significantly different risk-of-poverty rates for young people aged 16 to 29. These were Romania, Portugal, Luxembourg, the Czech Republic, Estonia, the United Kingdom, Croatia, Slovakia, Malta and Greece, where the difference of the at-risk-of-poverty rates between the two groups of young people was less than 4.0 pp. The highest differences between those living with parents and those not living with parents were observed in Denmark (38.2 pp), the Netherlands (22.4 pp), Sweden (22.0 pp), Austria (20.0 pp), and Finland (18.1 pp), with higher rates corresponding to those not living with parents.
Severe material deprivation
Material deprivation indicators have been defined to complement the relative poverty indicator, based on current income and taking account of non-monetary resources. Their definition is based on the inability to afford a selection of nine specific items that are considered to be necessary or desirable, such as: not being able to afford one week’s annual holiday away from home; not being able to afford a meal with meat, chicken, fish (or vegetarian equivalent) every second day; not being able to face unexpected financial expenses, among others. The severe material deprivation rate is based on a single European threshold. It is an absolute measure of poverty which captures the differences in living standards between countries. Persons who cannot afford to pay for four or more of the nine items are considered to be severely materially deprived.
In 2014, the severe material deprivation rate for young people (aged 15-29) at EU level decreased slightly compared with 2006 (see Figure 6). From 2006 to 2009, the rate followed a downward trend (from 11.8 % to 9.5 %), while it increased during the period 2009-2014 (from 9.5 % to 10.6 %). As presented in figure 7, for the majority of the EU Member States, the severe material deprivation rate decreased. However, for some countries the rate increased during this period. The biggest drop in severe material deprivation was noted in Bulgaria (by 23.4 pp from 54.8 % to 31.4 %), followed by Poland (by 18.2 pp from 29.4 % to 11.2 %), Latvia (by 13.2 pp from 30.7 % to 17.5 %) and Lithuania (by 13.1 pp from 25.6 % to 12.5 %). During the same time period, the severe material deprivation rate increased the most in Greece (by 16.6 pp from 12.0 % to 28.6 %), followed by Ireland (by 7.1 pp from 4.6 % to 12.1 %) and Malta (by 7.1 pp from 4.3 % to 11.4 %).
Among the EU Member States, in 2014 the highest proportion of young people (aged 15-29) who were severely materially deprived was found in Bulgaria (31.4 %), ahead of Greece (28.6 %), Romania (27.5 %) and Hungary (27.0 %) , with Cyprus and Latvia following. Less than 5.0 % of young people were severely materially deprived in Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria and Finland, and less than 10.0 % in Denmark, Germany, Estonia, France, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Spain and Belgium (Figure 7).
Looking at severe material deprivation rates among the young population by age and household status, (see Table 5) significant gaps can be seen between EU Member States and age groups. Severe material deprivation rates for young people aged 16-19 not living in the parental household were higher than for those living with their parents, with the exceptions of Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Cyprus and the United Kingdom, where deprivation rates among those living with their parents were higher. A similar situation was noted for the 20-24 age group where, in the majority of the Member States, those living with parents had lower severe material deprivation rates, with the exceptions being Ireland, France, Italy, Cyprus, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. In the 25–29 age group, however, the rates for those not living with their parents were lower than for those living with their parents in half of the Member States, with an overall severe material deprivation rate at EU-28 level of 9.8 % for those not living with parents, compared to 9.7 % for those living in the parental house. As for the EFTA countries, the severe material deprivation rates were marginal in Switzerland, and remained at low levels in Iceland and Norway, with slightly higher values in Norway for young people not living with their parents in the 16–19 and 20–24 age groups (4.1 % and 3.0 %, respectively).
Living in households with very low work intensity
This section focuses on young people living in households with very low work intensity (defined as less than or equal to 20 % of a person’s work potential during the preceding year) . People living in such households are more likely to be exposed to social exclusion.
In 2014, 9.8 million young people (aged 15-29) in the EU-28 were living in households with very low work intensity, which corresponds to 11.5 % of the total young population (see Figure 8). This proportion increased slightly compared with 2006 (10.0 %), with the lowest rates over this nine-year period recorded in 2008 and 2009 (both 8.6 %). Among the EU-28 Member States, Ireland (24.1 %), Greece (20.9 %), as well as Denmark and Spain ( both 18.3 %), recorded the highest rates, while Romania (5.0 %), Luxembourg (5.1 %), and Lithuania (5.5 %) had the lowest. Compared with 2006, in 2014 the rate tripled in Spain and Cyprus. It doubled over this time period in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. The opposite trend was observed in Poland, Germany and Lithuania, where the highest decreases occurred (Figure 9).
As shown in Table 6, in 2014 the proportion of young people (aged 16-29) living in a parental household with very low work intensity was over 12.0 % in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Italy, Belgium and Spain, while Greece and Ireland reported the highest rates (23.4 % and 24.4 % respectively). As regards young people not living with their parents, Ireland, Bulgaria and Denmark had the highest proportions of young people living in households where the work intensity was low, with rates above 18.0 %. Comparing the age groups, the proportion of young people living in a low work intensity household decreased in the older age groups for those not living with parents; the rate remained stable or increased for young people living with their parents. A different pattern was observed in Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Austria and Italy where, among those not living in the parental household, the rate of young people aged 25-29 living in low work intensity households was higher than the rate for those aged 16-19.
Data sources and availability
The data used in this article are primarily derived from EU statistics on income and living conditions (EU-SILC). It is regulated under the framework Regulation 1177/2003 and is the source of information for statistics relating to income, living conditions and social inclusion. The reference population is all private households and their current members residing in the territory of an EU Member State at the time of data collection. Persons living in collective households and in institutions are generally excluded from the target population. The EU-28 aggregate is a population-weighted average of individual national figures.
Social exclusion at an early age has long-lasting consequences for both individuals and society as a whole as it affects all aspects of young people’s lives. Data suggest that the decision to move towards an independent life leaving the parental household increases the risk of poverty. For many young people, looking for a job and sustaining a household is far from easy. Young people often start with low-paid jobs and underemployment (temporary or part-time), which can lead to financial difficulties. However, this is not always the rule as the risk of poverty for youth depends on numerous other factors, including the general financial situation and the social inclusion policies of the country they live in.
At the European Council held on 17 June 2010, the Member States’ Heads of State and Government endorsed a new EU strategy, known as Europe 2020 strategy, for not only smart and sustainable, but also inclusive growth. One of its headline targets is the reduction of poverty: the main aim is to lift 20 million people out of risk of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. One of the Europe 2020 flagship initiatives is the ‘European Platform against Poverty and Social Exclusion’. Poverty should be combated from an early age, as children born into poverty face a substantially higher risk of remaining poor throughout their youth and into adulthood. This is a responsibility of all EU Member States, with the European Commission playing a supporting and coordinating role.
- Children at risk of poverty or social exclusion
- Europe 2020 indicators - poverty and social exclusion
- Material deprivation and low work intensity statistics
- Material deprivation statistics - early results
- People at risk of poverty or social exclusion
- Social inclusion statistics
- Sustainable development - social inclusion
Further Eurostat information
- Europe 2020 indicators
- Income, social inclusion and living conditions
- Quality of life indicators
Methodology / Metadata
- Income and living conditions (ESMS metadata file — ilc_esms)
Source data for tables, figures and maps (MS Excel)
- Europe 2020 targets-European Commission
- EU Youth Strategy
- Youth in action programme
- The social dimension of the Europe 2020 strategy — A report of the social protection committee (2011)
- Households composed only of children, of students aged less than 25 and/or by people aged 60 or more are totally excluded from the indicator computation. Students aged 18–24 who live with at least another working age non-student person are excluded from the computation of the household work intensity, but they are given the household work intensity computed on the basis of the other household members. The same rule applies for children.