How the 2008/2009 economic recession and Covid-19 affected NEETs in the EU South

A new scientific paper published recently in the framework of YOUTHShare gives a theoretically informed empirical look at the uneven expansion of NEET rates in the NUTS2 regions of Greece, Italy, Spain and Cyprus in gendered and spatio-temporal terms.

Between the global economic recession in 2008-2009 and the Covid-19 pandemic, southern and eastern EU countries experienced social and economic turmoil in a more severe way, compared to the central and northern ones. NEETs comprise a big part of youth in Southern Europe and their numbers have expanded significantly in the last decade with women being more likely to be long-term economically inactive than men (Maguire et al., 2013).

The study, among other findings, identifies and explores three underlying factors for the persistence of high NEET rates in the EU South: The first concerns peripherality, that is related to certain geo-demographic characteristics and socio-economic structures; the second regards the institutions’ inabilityof building regional resilience; and the third, the gendered characterof youth inactivity, where NEET rates between men and women are considerably divergent.

Young people are indeed increasingly involved in flexible but not secured work, while their gender and class-related spatialities were playing a crucial role to their life prospects. Therefore, future research should focus on youth’s personal stories, to unveil the process through which they obtain skills and experience and how they are involved in networks.


Maguire, S., Cockx, B., Dolado, J. J., Felgueroso, F., Jansen, M., Styczyńska, I., Rinne, U., McGuinness, S., Eichhorst, W., Hinte, H., & Rinne, U. (2013). Youth unemployment.Intereconomics, 48(4), 196–235. s10272-013-0464-9



Athina Avagianou
Thanasis Kizos
Stelios Gialis

Athina Avagianou, Thanasis Kizos & Stelios Gialis. 2022. Young NEETs in the EU South: socio-spatial and gender divisions in between the Great Recession and the Covid-19 pandemic. Geografisk Tidsskrift – Danish Journal of Geography, DOI: 10.1080/00167223.2022.2068636



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