Experimental statistics

Young people in Iceland 2005-2018


Statistics Iceland has published new experimental statistics on labour and education participation for individuals aged between 16 and 19. This measure, called NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) has previously been based on survey data, and did not allow for a detailed breakdown of the data into groups based on origin, occupancy location or by specific age in years. The new publication is register-based, and allows for a much more detailed breakdown of the data.


The data are generated from registers of labour, population and education statistics. The purpose is to assess the status of young people in Iceland as well as assessing the ability of Statistics Iceland to use sources used for other purposes to shed light on the experience of being a young person in Iceland today.

Young persons are divided into three groups in the dataset: Those who are currently employed according to records from Iceland Revenue and Customs, those who are currently in education according to internal records at Statistics Iceland and those who fall into neither of the aforementioned categories.


By basing NEET statistics on registers rather than survey data, it is possible to analyze sub-groups in the population in much greater detail.

The proportion of individuals between 16 and 19 not in education or employment increases

Updated: 6 August 2020

Individuals aged between 16 and 19 not in education or employment numbered 1.164 in November 2018, an increase from 986 in November 2017.

The highest proportional change was among 19 year olds, with an increase from 8,1% to 10,8%. This represents the lowest rate of participation in education or employment among 19 year olds since 2009, when the proportion reached 11,7%.


In 2018, the non-participation rate among 16-19 year olds peaked at 9,6% in the southeastern region of the Southern peninsula (Suðurnes), followed by 6,7% in southern Iceland. Non-participation rates during the recession years of 2008 and 2009 also peaked in the Southern peninsula, where 13% of individuals aged between 16-19 were neither in education nor employment.



Young people in Iceland 2005-2018 (xlsx)


The data cover the years 2005-2018. The data only cover November of each year, which is in accordance with the methods employed by other Nordic National Statistics Offices for similar analyses.

The population consists of every person between 16 and 19 years living in Iceland in November of the specified year. Any group that consist of less than 4 individuals is removed from the dataset.

Use of these experimental statistics is free. Please quote the source.
For further information please contact Anton.Karlsson@hagstofa.is, tel. +354 528 1281