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

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

The old Stanley Gordon school in Lake Cowichan. (Lexi Bainas/Gazette file)
Editorial: Old school properties represent potential for our areas

There are opportunities, often sitting right in the middle of our small communities.

Sweet gum trees like this one in City Square will be replaced over the next three years. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Duncan plans big tree replacement project for downtown

Sweet gums in City Square and along Station Street will go over the next three years

Cowichan Valley Capitals defenceman Logan Rands pokes the puck away from Alberni Valley Bulldogs forward Talon Duff. (Elena Rardon/Black Press Media)
Offence sags as Cowichan Capitals reach midway mark

Caps score one goal in three games as pod season continues

BCYP Minister for the Southern Interior, Aislinn Dressler of Fernie said the Youth Parliament being virtual was a great way to learn about how the BC Parliament was operating. (Photo contributed by Aislinn Dressler)
Applications open for Islands Youth Parliament

Applications must be received by April 23

A large crowd protested against COVID-19 measures at Sunset Beach in Vancouver on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. (Snapchat)
VIDEO: Large, police-patrolled crowds gather at Vancouver beach for COVID protests

Vancouver police said they patrolled the area and monitored all gatherings

A teacher-librarian in Nanaimo was fired in 2019 for checking out an age-inappropriate graphic novel to a student. The discipline agreement was published Wednesday, April 21. (News Bulletin file photo)
Nanaimo teacher-librarian fired for checking out too-graphic graphic novel to student

Teacher had been previously disciplined and suspended on two occasions

Aria Pendak Jefferson cuddles ChiChi, the family cat that ran away two years ago in Ucluelet. The feline was missing until Courtney Johnson and Barry Edge discovered her in the parking lot of the Canadian Princess earlier this month. Aria and her parents were reunited with ChiChi in a parking lot in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)
An Island girl’s wish is answered as her cat came back

Courtenay family reunited with cat that went missing in Ucluelet in 2019

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus is putting a 41-passenger electric bus through its paces in a three-month trial run between Nanaimo and Victoria. (Photo submitted)
Electric bus on trial run serving Victoria-to-Nanaimo route

Vancouver Island Connector and Tofino Bus trying out 41-seat electric coach for three months

The Coastal Fire Centre is looking ahead to the wildfire season on Vancouver Island. (Phil McLachlan – Western News)
Coastal Fire Centre looking ahead at wildfire season on Vancouver Island

‘We’re asking people in the spring to be very careful’

Chum Salmon fry being examined with multiple motile and attached sea lice on Vargas Island. (Cedar Coast Field Station photo)
Study: Tofino fish farm sea lice infestations add fuel to push to remove open pens

Ahousaht First Nation asking for higher standards than what DFO requires

FILE – The Instagram app is shown on an iPhone in Toronto on Monday, March 19, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Judge acquits B.C. teen boy ‘set up’ on sex assault charge based on Instagram messages

The girl and her friends did not have ‘good intentions’ towards the accused, judge says

Kai Palkeinen recently helped a car stuck on the riverbed near the Big Eddy Bridge. While the car could not be saved, some of the driver’s belongings were. It’s common for vehicles to get stuck in the area due to significantly changing river levels from Revelstoke Dam. (Photo by Kai Palkeinen)
“I just sank a car’: Revelstoke resident tries to save vehicle from the Columbia River

Although it’s not permitted, the riverbed near the city is popular for off roading

Most Read