Young people not in employment, education or training: What did they do in the past 12 months?

February 13, 2019

By Statistics Canada | 


  • In September 2018, 779,000 young people aged 15 to 29 were not in employment, education or training (NEET). This represented 11.3% of those in this age category.
  • Slightly more than half of these young people had actually gone to school or worked as a main activity in the past 12 months—some of whom may have been in-between jobs in September, or in a transition stage between school and work. Almost 4 in 10 young NEET Canadians that had worked during the past 12 months had held a temporary, rather than permanent, job.
  • Women who were NEET commonly reported caring for children. This was especially true of women aged 25 to 29, who also had the highest NEET rate in September 2018.
  • A little more than 1 in 10 NEET individuals said that a physical or mental health concern or disability had kept them from doing something else as a main activity.
  • Few NEET individuals volunteered for a group or organization as their main activity in the previous 12 months, although about 3 in 10 had volunteered to some extent during this period.


Young people (aged 15 to 29) who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are often considered to be more vulnerable than their peers, as they may face a risk of becoming disengaged or socially excluded, and could miss out on gaining skills or experience in the labour market.

While Statistics Canada has previously examined the characteristics of the NEET population, this is the first study to examine the main activities of NEET 15- to 29-year-olds over a 12-month period using Labour Force Survey (LFS) data. Among the activities to be analyzed are going to school, working, caring for children, and volunteering both as a main and secondary activity.

Who was NEET in September?

Overall, there were 6.9 million young people aged 15 to 29 in Canada in September 2018 (Figure 1). Of those, 4.0 million were non-students (57.8%), while 2.9 million were students (42.4%). Both categories (students and non-students) are then divided into the employed and the not employed. The NEET population consists of all non-students who are not employed: in September 2018, 779,000 people were in this category (11.3% of the total population aged 15 to 29).

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