People make their way through the Financial District along Montgomery Street Friday, Oct. 18, 2019, in San Francisco. A new study is offering what it calls a rare look at the health and psychological impacts endured by Canadian youth who fall into the demographic category of not employed or not studying. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Eric Risberg

Canadian young people not employed or in school face poorer mental, physical health

The results were based on surveys of 13,270 participants between 2015 and 2017

A new study is offering what it calls a rare look at the health and psychological impacts endured by Canadian youth who are not working, training or studying.

The Statistics Canada research said 11.1 per cent of young people, aged 18 to 29 years old, found themselves in this situation and, therefore, were at risk of persistent social and economic challenges. The results were based on surveys of 13,270 participants between 2015 and 2017.

These young people, the report said, were more likely to have poorer mental and physical health, suicidal thoughts and lower levels of life satisfaction.

The examination’s focus was on Canadian youth who were “not in employment, education or training” — a classification also known by its acronym NEET.

The issues related to youth NEET have become a global concern, catching the attention of social scientists and policy-makers around the world.

“The NEET rate among Canadian youth has remained relatively stable at around 13 per cent for the past two decades, and youth NEET are considered to be at risk for a multitude of long-term economic and social difficulties,” said the study, co-authored by Jordan Davidson and Rubab Arim.

“The results from this study allow for a critical examination of the diverse experiences of youth NEET and stimulate future research questions that can help to better understand NEET status among Canadian youth.”

By some measures, the number of young Canadians defined as NEET has been estimated at close to 1 million. For example, a separate 2017 report on youth employment for the federal government said that 860,000 youth were in this category in 2015, representing 12.6 of Canada’s youth population.

Young people classified as NEET may be at risk of becoming isolated, said the report by the federal government’s expert panel on youth employment.

The Statistics Canada study, published last Friday, said most youth NEET research in Canada has focused on socio-demographic characteristics and the shift from studies to work. As a result, ”relatively little is known about the psychological well-being” of Canadian youth NEET, the authors wrote.

The research sought to address this by laying out a psychological profile of youth NEET, based on data from Canadian Community Health Survey results.

In the study, youth NEET were divided into three sub-groups — 38 per cent of them reported they were looking for paid work, 27.5 per cent said they were caring for children and 34.5 per cent were categorized as “other.”

The “other” group included people who reported their main activities as something like volunteering or household work. Some reported having a long-term illness or disability.

In most categories, the study found that the respondents who reported caring for children as their main activity had similar results to non-NEET youth. Those classified in the “other” category had consistently poorer characteristics, the research found.

Here are some of the Canadian findings:

— Mental health: 13.8 per cent of youth NEET reported poor or fair mental health, compared with 7.8 per cent of non-NEET.

— Suicide: 23.7 per cent of youth NEET said they seriously contemplated suicide, compared with 14.9 per cent of non-NEET.

— Social well-being: 33.2 per cent of youth NEET said they were very satisfied with their lives, compared with 39.7 per cent of non-NEET.

— Physical health: 55.9 per cent of youth NEET reported very good or excellent physical health, compared with 72 per cent of non-NEET.

— Education: 38.9 per cent of youth NEET had completed post-secondary education, compared with 53.1 per cent of non-NEET.

— Income: 40.9 per cent of youth NEET were living in households in the lowest income quintile, compared with 22.5 per cent of non-NEET.

ALSO READ: B.C.’s tuition waiver program for former youth in care continues to grow

Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Northern Health saw 14 cases in one day earlier this week, the highest in one day since the beginning of the pandemic. (Image courtesy CDC)
Northern Health sees highest number of COVID-19 cases in one day

There have been 23 cases of reported cases of COVID-19 in the Nechako Lakes Health Area

’Herbert’ Shane Hartman with his daughter Isla. (Shane Hartman Facebook photo)
Love for daughter and drumming leads to author’s first book

Shane Hartman spent very spare moment writing and illustrating Isla’s New Drum

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Hirdeypal Batth, 24, has been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in relation to an incident in August 2020. (VPD handout)
Man, 24, charged with sex assault after allegedly posing as Uber driver in Vancouver

Investigators believe there could be more victims outside of the Vancouver area

B.C. Premier John Horgan and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee arrive for annual Cascadia conference in Vancouver, Oct. 10, 2018. They have agreed to coordinate the permanent switch to daylight saving time. (B.C. government)
B.C. still awaiting U.S. approval to eliminate daylight saving time

Clocks going back one hour Nov. 1 in Washington too

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shakes hands with US Vice-President Joe Biden on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Friday, December 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Patrick Doyle
A Biden presidency could mean good news for Canadian environment policy: observers

Experts and observers say even a U.S. outside the Paris agreement may ultimately end up in the same place

People take a photo together during the opening night of Christmas Lights Across Canada, in Ottawa, on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. The likelihood that most Canadians will enjoy a holly jolly Christmas season of gatherings, caroling and travel is unlikely, say public health experts who encourage those who revel in holiday traditions to accept more sacrifices ahead. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Ho, ho, no: Experts advise preparing for a scaled-back COVID holiday season

Many of the holiday season’s highlights have already been scrapped or are unlikely to take place

Sen. Kim Pate is shown in Toronto in an October 15, 2013, file photo. The parliamentary budget office says a proposed law that would give judges discretion on whether to apply a lesser sentence for murder could save the federal government $8.3 million per year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel
Judicial discretion for mandatory minimum sentences for murder would save $8.3M: PBO

The result would be fewer people in long-term custody at federal correctional institutions, experts say

Most Read