Fact Sheet on NEETs: analysis of the 2011 South Africa census


Lesego Ramose

“NEET” refers to young people who are not employed and not in education and training. Many countries, including South Africa, are currently using the NEET rate to monitor the labour market and social dynamics of young people. It is generally acknowledged, both in South Africa and abroad, that NEETs constitute one of the greatest threats to the stability of society.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) has compiled a Fact Sheet on “NEETS” in South Africa. The Fact Sheet is available on the DHET website. The data are derived using the SuperCROSS program applied to Statistics South Africa’s Census 2011 reports.

The unit of analysis for the investigation is persons aged 15 to 24.  The percentage of NEETs (the NEET rate) was calculated by dividing the number of persons aged 15-24 years who are NEET, by the total 15-24 year old population in the country.

The number of South African NEETS increased from about 2 million in 1996 to close to 3.2 million in 2011. The NEET rates were 25.1% in 1996, 34.0% in 2001 and 30.8% in 2011. In 2011, North West Province had the highest provincial NEET rate (36.4%) while Limpopo Province had the lowest, at 26.8%.

Even the lowest provincial rate is significantly higher than the NEET rate in many other countries. Although the age groups are not identical, it is instructive to note that the NEET rate of 15-29 year olds in all OECD countries in 2011 was 15.8%. In only six OECD countries did the NEET rate of the same age group in that year exceed 20%.

It is evident that access to post-school education and training and youth unemployment are major national challenges which require urgent, coordinated and sustained responses. The monitoring of NEET rates will provide evidence on whether interventions to improve education, training and work opportunities for young people in South Africa are bearing fruit.

The report can be downloaded from the DHET website http://www.dhet.gov.za/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=RUHZQ/BMp6s%3D&tabid=36

Lesego Ramose is a Senior Administration Officer in the Directorate: Research Co-ordination Monitoring and Evaluation, DHET. Email: ramose.l@dhet.gov.za



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The Research Bulletin on Post-School Education and Training is prepared by the Directorate: Research Coordination, Monitoring and Evaluation. Enquiries or contributions may be directed to: Lesego RamoseTel: 012 312 5657 Email: dhetresearch@dhet.gov.za Department of Higher Education and Training, 123 Francis Baard Street, Pretoria 0001