Counting and Meeting NEET Young People

  • Methodology, Perspective and Meaning in Research on Marginalized Youth
  • Bjørn Hallstein Holte
  • Young, March 2017, SAGE Publications
  • DOI: 10.1177/1103308816677618

What is it about?

The category ‘not in education, employment, or training’ (NEET) is often used to speak about young people not following the life trajectories expected of them. Yet, the category is not as straightforward as it sounds. It is defined by what the young people are not doing, rather than what they are doing. It is not clear who the NEET young people are, what they do, or whether this is the same across different countries. How can meeting NEET young people for interviews and observation in their everyday lives help us find out who they are?

Why is it important?

The NEET category is used by politicians and important international organisations. It is important to examine the categories used by powerful individuals and organisations because they have policy consequences. We need to discuss how they can be understood, used, or improved. Understanding who NEET young people are will help make better interventions to improve their lives.


Bjørn Hallstein Holte
VID Specialized University

I hope this article will contribute to greater nuance in how public statistics are read, used, and understood. On the one hand, they should not be accepted uncritically as representing an objective truth. On the other hand, neither should they be discarded as simply representing the interests or point-of-view of the powerful.

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The following have contributed to this page: Bjørn Hallstein Holte