Press Release Disability Unemployment Youth

Report on Young People Who Are Not In School or Employed

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For Immediate Release: March 30, 2023
Contact: Kelsey Moore, 862-324-1213, [email protected]

Washington, DC — Despite a prevailing narrative that young men are falling behind young women, most groups of young men and women are falling behind white men by their late 20s, particularly Black men, women overall, Black women, and Latinas. In a new report, the Center for Economic and Policy Research’s (CEPR’s) Julie Yixia CaiEmma CurchinTori Coan, and Shawn Fremstad analyzed new data from the monthly Current Population Survey to learn more about Americans ages 16-29 who are not employed, in education, or training (often known as the NEET rate). 

In “Are Young Men Falling Behind Young Women? The NEET Rate Helps Shed Light on the Matter,” the authors uncovered data that challenge and complicate assertions about the new gender gap. Key findings include:

  • Young men are likelier than young women to be employed or in school. Among 16- to 29-year-olds, 17.5 percent of women and 13 percent of men were not employed or in school in 2002. 

  • Among young people not employed or in school, nearly one in ten have a disability, and about 12 percent live with a disabled adult. By comparison, only 2.4 percent of young people who are employed or in school have a disability, and about 8.9 percent live with a disabled adult.

  • About 36 percent of young women not employed or in school are mothers living with one or more of their children. Only about 5 percent of young men who are not employed or in school are fathers living with one of their children. 

  • More than half of young women not employed or in school (54 percent) fall into one of three categories related to disability and potential care obligations — have a disability, live with a disabled adult, or live with at least one of their children — compared to just over one-third of men who are not employed or in school (35 percent).  

“Reducing the inequalities in young people’s well-being and power will require more than narrowly tailored policy changes. Many working-class young people, including many Black men, are particularly disadvantaged by the lack of universal social policies in the United States — like Medicare for All and a Youth Guarantee — and strong labor market institutions that balance political and economic power between workers and employers,” said the authors of the report. 

Overall, universal child care and other family supports, the elimination of tuition for public colleges and universities, and jobs programs would all help decrease the NEET. 


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