Italy is the country with the most NEETs in Europe. And they are mostly girls and mothers

S.or not Neet because they do not intend to continue their studies but do not intend to look for work. Or because they have stopped looking for it, frustrated by the difficulties. But neither are they formed with the hope of finding one. Often they are mothers who have simply given up. Young people between 15 and 34 years old who live in this limbo, or swamp, are 39% of the population in Southern Italy, 23% in Central Italy, 20% in the North-West and 18% in the North-East. But all Italian regions exceed the average incidence of NEETs on the youth population in Europe in 2020 which remains at 15%. The picture, definitely worrying, was highlighted by ActionAid with CGIL in the Report “NEET tra disugequalities and gaps. In search of new public policies“.

A study that also aims to guide national and territorial policies for young people. In the end, as he explains Katia Scannavini, ActionAid Deputy Secretary General, to «guarantee economic and social justice to the new generations. The exercise of one’s rights, access to equal opportunities, regardless of the socio-economic condition of departure, gender, citizenship and Regions in which you live”.

Neet, in Italy there are 3 million. And 1.7 are women

The acronym Neet stands for “Not in Education, Employment or Training”. And speak clearly. It refers to those young people, 3 million in Italy in 2020, of which 1.7 million of female gender, who do not work, do not study, do not train. The incidence of NEETs in Italy, the report says, doubles in the South compared to the North, and is higher among women, especially in the older age groups. 20% of the Neet are inactive mothers.

Inactive mothers: how much does the disparity in care loads affect

56% of the Neets are women and the female prevalence remains unchanged over the years, demonstrating that it is much more difficult for a woman to get out of this condition. It is enough to look at the roles in the family to understand what has happened and does not stop happening: 26% are parents and live outside the family of origin. Among them there is a wide difference between women and men who sees a 23% of Neet mothers compared to 3% of Neet fathers. The motivation for inactivity is therefore often linked to difference in care loads between mother and father.

Most (2 out of 3) of the Neets are inactive: discouraged, they have completely stopped looking for work. Someone (about 20%) would be willing to work but still not looking. There is a tendency to be inactive especially among high school graduates (32%) or with a lower degree (16%). As for the unemployed (those who regularly look for a job) as many as 36.3% of them have been looking for a job for more than a year. Almost 1 in 2 has had previous work experience and of these 54.3% are women. Women are the majority (57%) even among young people of foreign origin or without Italian citizenship, who are only 18% of the total.

Work and motherhood: Italy is not yet a country for mothers

From the former employed to the discouraged, the identikit of the Neet

Very young out of school. From 15 to 19 years old, with no previous work experience and inactive, they only have a middle school certificate and live with a family.

Looking for first job. They are young people aged 20 to 24, with no previous work experience, mostly live in a single-parent family unit, are males and live in a metropolitan city or large municipality. This is the largest cluster and highlights the fragility of the Southern labor market.

Former employees. They are between 25 and 29 years old, have lost or abandoned a job and are now looking. They are mainly male, single, with a high level of education. They are receiving unemployment benefits. They live in the central regions of the country.

The Discouraged: young people aged 30 to 34 with previous work experience and now inactive. They are mainly resident in the regions of Northern Italy and in non-metropolitan areas. The female gender affects this group.


Italy is the country with the most NEETs in Europe. And they are mostly girls and mothers