In 2021, it is estimated that 6.3% of 16–24-year-old people in Iceland were not in employment, education, or training (NEET). This is equivalent to just over 2,500 youths being neither in employment nor in education or training. In the last 10 years the rate was lowest in 2017 at 4.9% and highest in 2020 at 7.4%.
Almost 7% of men aged 16-24 old were not in employment, education, or training in the year 2021. The proportion of women was lower at 5.6%. In the last five years, sex difference was greatest in the year 2019, with 6.8% of young men not in employment, education or training compared with 4.2% of young women.
There is a significant difference between age groups in the rate of those not in employment, education, or training. The rate was lower among 16–19-year-olds, as most of the people in this age group are in formal or informal education. In the last five years, the percentage of 16–19-year-olds, who were not in employment, education or training, was highest in 2020 at 4.5% and lowest in 2021 at 2.7%. The rate has not been lower for this age group since 2004. In the last five years the proportion of 20–24-year-olds not in employment, education or training has increased from 6.2% in 2017 to 9% in 2021.
In the year 2021, 9.8% of immigrants aged 16-24 were not in employment, education, or training. In the last 10 years the percentage was highest in 2016, or at 1.1%, and lowest in 2021, or at 16.5%. The proportion of individuals with an Icelandic background not in employment, education or training was 6% in 2021. From the year 2021, the proportion was the lowest in 2017, at 5%, and highest in 2020, at 7.4%.
About the data
The figures are based on the Labour force survey conducted by Statistics Iceland. Since the Labour force survey uses a sample of the population there is a need to account for uncertainty. To assess the uncertainty, confidence intervals are calculated for both the ratio and the estimated number that are NEET. The confidence interval estimates how exactly the sample value represents the true value of the population.
Immigrant is defined as an individual that is born abroad and has parents that both are born abroad and have a foreign background. That means that both grandparents were born abroad. Icelandic background is used for everyone that cannot be defined as an immigrant. Icelandic background can be seen as a broad category that includes many sub-categories. For example, a person who is born abroad but has no foreign background, individuals that are born in Iceland and have one parent that is an immigrant, an individual that is born abroad and has Icelandic grandparents, and an individual that has immigrant parents but is born in Iceland.