1. Main facts and figures

  • in the period from 2014 to 2016, an average of 12.8% of young people aged 16 to 24 said they were not in employment, education, or training (‘NEET’) at the time of being surveyed
  • young people from the Chinese and Other Asian ethnic groups were less likely to be not in employment, education or training (at 6.2% and 6.5% respectively) compared with the UK average
  • young Pakistani people were more likely to be NEET (at 16.2%) than young people from the Chinese (6.2%), Other Asian (6.5%), and Other (9.4%) ethnic groups
  • young White people were more likely to be NEET and not actively looking for work (‘economically inactive’), at 7.3%, than NEET, unemployed and looking for work, at 5.6%; White young women were more likely to be NEET and economically inactive than White young men
Things you need to know

This analysis is based on the Annual Population Survey (APS), which is a ‘sample survey’. It collects information from a random sample of the population to make generalisations (reach 'findings') about the total population.

The commentary for this data includes only reliable, or ‘statistically significant’, findings. Findings are statistically significant when we can be confident that they can be repeated, and are reflective of the total population rather than just the survey sample.

Specifically, the statistical tests used mean we can be confident that if we carried out the same survey on different random samples of the population, 19 times out of 20 we would get similar findings.

Differences are statistically significant if the results for the 2 groups or time periods being compared are within entirely different ranges.

As with all surveys, the estimates from the APS are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

To increase the reliability of the data, which is taken from the Annual Population Survey (APS), the Office for National Statistics has combined the data from 2014, 2015 and 2016 into a 3-year average. The data shows respondents who were counted as not in employment, education or training at the time they were surveyed – it doesn’t measure how long they had this status within the year the survey related to.

Most of the ethnic groupings used here are broad because there is no breakdown of data for the more specific ethnic groups each contains. It is important to note that some of the specific ethnic groups have very different experiences to one another. For example, the Black ethnic group could include both recent migrants from Somalia and Black people born in Britain to British parents.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of young people aged 16 to 24 who were not in employment, education or training (often known as ‘NEET’) at the time they were surveyed. The data is broken down by ethnicity, sex and whether respondents were unemployed or economically inactive.

A person is considered to be not in employment, education or training (NEET) if they’re not doing one of the following:

  • enrolled on an education course and are still attending or waiting for term to (re)start
  • doing an apprenticeship
  • on a government-supported employment or training programme
  • working or studying towards a qualification
  • have had job-related training or education in the last 4 weeks
  • in paid work, as an employee or self-employed
  • in a job that they are temporarily away from, for example on holiday
  • doing unpaid family work, for example working in a family business

A person classed as NEET is therefore not in education or training and is out of work, being either:

  • unemployed and looking for work
  • economically inactive – that is, they haven’t been actively looking for work in the 4 weeks prior to being surveyed or are not waiting to start a job

People who are not looking for work because they are caring for their family are also counted as economically inactive.

The ethnic categories used in this data

Data is broken down into the following 9 groups:

  • Asian
    • Bangladeshi
    • Indian
    • Pakistani
    • Chinese
    • Any other Asian background
  • Black/African/Caribbean/Black British
  • Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups
  • White
  • Other ethnic group

There are some differences in the ethnic categories the Annual Population Survey uses in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Data has been harmonised for this analysis using the list above.

2. By ethnicity

Percentage of young people aged 16 to 24 years not in employment, education or training by ethnicity
Ethnicity %
All 12.8
Bangladeshi 15.0
Chinese 6.2
Indian 10.9
Pakistani 16.2
Asian other 6.5
Black 13.6
Mixed 14.0
White 12.9
Other 9.4

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • in the period from 2014 to 2016, an average of 12.8% of young people aged 16 to 24 years said they were not in employment, education, or training (‘NEET’) at the time of being surveyed
  • young people from the Chinese and Other Asian ethnic groups were less likely to be NEET than the UK average, at 6.2% and 6.5% respectively
  • no other ethnic groups showed meaningful differences compared with the national average because of small sample sizes; however around 16.2% of young Pakistani people said they were NEET in the same period, which was a higher rate than young people in the Chinese, Other Asian, and Other ethnic groups

3. By ethnicity and sex

Percentage of young people aged 16 to 24 years not in employment, education or training by ethnicity and sex
Ethnicity Male Female
% %
All 11.8 13.8
Bangladeshi 10.2 19.2
Chinese withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Indian 10.2 11.7
Pakistani 15.8 16.8
Asian other 5.6 7.3
Black 14.3 12.9
Mixed 14.4 13.7
White 11.9 14.0
Other 7.3 11.8

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • on average, White young women aged 16 to 24 years were more likely to be ‘NEET’ (not in employment, education or training) compared with White young men, at 14.0% and 11.9% respectively
  • although the data shows differences between young men and women in other ethnic groups, sample sizes were too small to draw reliable conclusions about these results

4. By ethnicity and economic activity

Percentage of young people aged 16 to 24 years not in employment, education or training by ethnicity and economic activity
Ethnicity Unemployed Inactive
% %
All 5.6 7.2
Bangladeshi 7.5 7.5
Chinese withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Indian 4.8 6.0
Pakistani 8.5 7.8
Asian other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 4.6
Black 7.1 6.4
Mixed 7.3 6.7
White 5.6 7.3
Other 3.3 6.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

Young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are divided into those who are actively seeking employment (‘unemployed’) and those who are not (‘economically inactive’).

This data shows that:

  • in the period from 2014 to 2016, on average, young people were more likely to be NEET and economically inactive than to be NEET and unemployed, at 7.2% and 5.6% respectively; the figures for young White people were almost the same as the UK average, at 7.3% and 5.6% respectively
  • compared with all young people on average, young Pakistani people were more likely to be NEET and unemployed (at 8.5%), and young people from the Other ethnic group were less likely to be NEET and unemployed (at 3.3%)

5. By ethnicity, sex and economic activity

Percentage of young people aged 16 to 24 years not in employment, education or training by ethnicity, sex and economic activity
Male Female
Ethnicity Unemployment Economically Inactive Unemployment Economically Inactive
All 6.8 5.0 4.4 9.4
Bangladeshi withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 9.0 10.3
Chinese withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld to protect confidentiality withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Indian 6.1 4.1 3.5 8.2
Pakistani 10.6 5.1 6.1 10.7
Asian other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable
Black 8.9 5.4 5.5 7.4
Mixed 8.5 5.9 6.2 7.5
White 6.8 5.0 4.3 9.7
Other withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 4.1 withheld because a small sample size makes it unreliable 8.3

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

Young people who are not in employment, education or training (NEET) are divided into those who are actively seeking employment (‘unemployed’) and those who aren’t (‘economically inactive’).

This data shows that:

  • on average, young White women were more likely to be NEET and economically inactive than young White men were, at 9.7% and 5.0% respectively
  • although the table shows differences between young men and women in other ethnic groups, sample sizes were too small to draw reliable conclusions about these results

6. Methodology

The Annual Population Survey is a continuous household survey. The sample is formed from waves 1 and 5 of the Labour Force Survey (in which selected addresses are contacted every 3 months) and from regional sample boosts that are in the sample for 4 waves, spread one year apart. Most people are interviewed in person first, and later by telephone.

The combined data for 2014, 2015 and 2016 contains around 550,000 respondents, divided roughly equally between the 3 years. No respondent is included in more than 1 year's data.

Estimates presented are 3-year averages. The data shows respondents who were counted as not in employment, education or training at the time they were surveyed. It doesn’t measure how long they had this status within the year the survey related to, nor does it track any changes to their status after they were surveyed.

Participants are randomly selected from the Royal Mail small user Postcode address File (PAF). The NHS communal accommodation list is also used and (in the case of remote parts of Scotland) telephone directories. All eligible individuals found at the selected address may be interviewed. Individuals are included in the dataset for this analysis if they respond themselves or if a family member responds on their behalf. The complex survey design has been taken into account when calculating confidence intervals. Observed differences are considered statistically significant when the 95% confidence intervals for 2 groups don’t overlap.

Weighting:

Weighting is used to adjust the results of a survey to make them representative of the population and improve their accuracy.

For example, a survey which contains 25% females and 75% males will not accurately reflect the views of the general population, which we know is around 50% male and 50% female.

Statisticians rebalance or ‘weight’ the survey results to more accurately represent the general population. This helps to make them more reliable.

Survey weights are usually applied to make sure the survey sample has broadly the same gender, age, ethnic and geographic make up as the general population.

The combined data used here is weighted to UK population totals, using population estimates and projections from the Office for National Statistics. Weighting is done at local authority level, meaning the sample for each local authority has roughly the same age and gender characteristics as that area's general population.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

In data covering all ethnic groups together, estimates based on sample sizes of less than 15 have been suppressed.

‘Suppression’ means these figures have not been included in the data, to protect confidentiality and because the numbers involved are too small to draw any reliable conclusions.

Rounding

Percentages have been rounded to 1 decimal point.

Related publications

Young people not in education, employment or training (NEET), UK: March 2018

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Labour force survey user guide

7. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

Office for National Statistics

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

The Annual Population Survey (APS) is the largest ongoing household survey in the UK and covers a range of topics, including:

  • personal characteristics
  • labour market status
  • work characteristics
  • education
  • health

The purpose of the APS is to provide information on important social and socio-economic variables at local levels, such as labour market estimates.

The published statistics also allow government to monitor estimates on a range of issues between censuses.

8. Download the data

Young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) - Spreadsheet (csv) 27 KB

This file contains: Measure description, Ethnicity, Time period, Geography type, Age, Employment Status, Sex, Percentage, Upper 95% C.I., Lower 95% C.I., Note