YouthView: Understanding opportunities and challenges for youth and young adults


Explore the complexities of youth poverty and employment opportunities in Australia

Follow the YouthView storyline by clicking the buttons below. Explore the richer data visualisation by clicking "Explore Data".

Youth poverty

Poverty Rates
Experiencing poverty
Not experiencing poverty

13% of families with young persons aged 15 to 24 are experiencing poverty



  • Growing up in a family with little or no wealth is an important predictor of lower educational attainment, poorer labour market performance, worse health, and lower overall life satisfaction.1
  • Both general health and mental health are worse among young adults who grew up in poor households.1

Notes: Poverty is defined as reporting a household income lower than 60% of the median household income (adjusted for family size). The youth poverty rate is reported as the proportion of households with young person(s) and experiencing poverty. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are for 2021. Source: ABS Census Data 2021

1 Esperanza Vera-Toscano and Roger Wilkins (2020) Does poverty in chilhood beget poverty in adulthood in Australia? Breaking Down Barriers Report, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, University of Melbourne.

The high and low levels of youth poverty

High Poverty

Region with the highest rate of youth poverty

High Poverty

Region with the lowest rate of youth poverty

Experiencing poverty
Not experiencing poverty

While some regions experience low levels of youth poverty, others face exceedingly high rates, with the highest surpassing 38%



  • Across different regions, the highest youth poverty rate is 38% while the lowest youth poverty rate is 5.2%.
  • 17 out of 89 regions have youth poverty rates less than 10%.
  • 17 out of 89 regions have youth poverty rates exceeding 16%.
  • These regional differences have long-term impacts. Living in a community with high poverty rates is associated with greater persistence in staying in poverty leading to limited learning opportunities while transitioning into youth adults.1

Notes: Poverty is defined as reporting a household income lower than 60% of the median household income (adjusted for family size). The youth poverty rate is reported as the proportion of households with young person(s) and experiencing poverty. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are for 2021. Source: ABS Census Data 2021

1 Maxim Ananyev, A. Abigail Payne and Rajeev Samarage (2020) Measuring Individual Poverty: Correlates and Variation Over Time. Breaking Down Barriers Report, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne.

Youth NEET

NEET Rates
NEET
Not NEET

10% of young persons aged 15 to 24 are not in education, employment or training (NEET)



  • 13% of families with young person(s) have young person(s) observed in NEET.
  • The youth NEET rate is a typical measure used to identify challenges in young person's transition after high school.
  • High youth NEET rates suggest that many students leave high school without moving on to further education, trainings or employment.
  • Some empirical facts 1,2
    • Individuals who drop out of school early are most at risk of becoming part of the NEET group.
    • The evolution of youth NEET rates with age varies by gender.
    • Young adults in the NEET group are more than twice likely to report a mental health condition.

Notes: The youth NEET rate is defined as the proportion of young persons aged 15 to 24, not being employed and/or studying or training as of Census day. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are for 2021. Source: ABS Census Data 2021.

1 Maxim Ananyev, A. Abigail Payne and Rajeev Samarage (2020) Measuring Individual Poverty: Correlates and Variation Over Time. Breaking Down Barriers Report, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
2 ABS Census Data 2021.

The high and low levels of youth NEET

High Poverty

Region with the highest rate of youth NEET

High Poverty

Region with the lowest rate of youth NEET

NEET
Not NEET

Youth NEET rates are low for some regions (4%), other regions face exceedingly high rates with the highest rate being 47%



  • 7 out of 89 regions have youth NEET rates less than 5%.
  • 8 out of 89 regions have youth NEET rates exceeding 15%.
  • The youth NEET rates tend to be higher in remote areas. More information is available here.

Notes: The youth NEET rate is defined as the proportion of young persons aged 15 to 24, not being employed and/or studying or training as of Census day. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are for 2021. Source: ABS Census Data 2021.

Youth poverty and NEET

Young persons observed as NEET have higher chances of belonging to households experiencing poverty.



  • 10.8% of young persons when not observed in NEET experience poverty, while 37.2% of young persons experience poverty when they are observed as NEET.
  • 28.8% of young persons from households experiencing poverty are observed as NEET. In comparison, 7.6% of youths from households not experiencing poverty are observed as NEET.
  • These statistics show a high correlation between youth poverty and youth NEET.
  • 3.9% of young Australians are experiencing both poverty and NEET.

Notes: The youth poverty rate is reported as the proportion of households that have young person(s) and are experiencing poverty. The youth NEET rate is defined as the proportion of young persons aged 15 to 24, not being employed and/or studying or training as of Census day. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are for 2021. Source: ABS Census Data 2021.

Four quadrants of youth poverty and NEET

35% of young persons live in regions with rates of youth poverty and NEET both above the national average



  • These four quadrants of youth poverty and NEET are defined based on the average youth poverty and NEET rates for Australia. Higher represents rates higher than the average for Australia, while lower represents rates lower than the average.
  • 10% of young persons live in regions with higher NEET rates despite having lower youth poverty rates.
  • 47% of total regions experience higher youth poverty and NEET rates while 39% of total regions experience lower youth poverty and NEET rates.

Notes: Youth poverty rate is reported as the proportion of households with young person(s) and experiencing poverty. Youth NEET rate is defined as the proportion of young persons aged 15 to 24, not being employed and/or studying or training as of Census day. We classify regions based on whether the regional youth poverty/ neet rate is higher or lower than the average Australian youth poverty/neet rates. The points are sized relative to the population of the regions in 2021. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. The points are scattered randomly in the quadrants.

Youth unemployment and job vacancies

Why are we observing high rates of youth NEET? Is it related to a lack of vacanies?



  • Most of the regions with high youth unemployment rates have fewer job vacancies.
  • In some regions (upper left quadrant in the figure), despite having low youth unemployment rates, many employers are searching for workers. Such regions are more likely to be in lower youth poverty lower NEET quadrant.
  • Four out of seven regions with higher NEET rates have unemployment rates higher than national average in 2020.
  • In 2020, only two out of seven regions with higher NEET rates have annual vacancies observed fewer than national average.

Notes: Vacancies for the year are computed from the average of monthly vacancies within a year. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. The points are sized relative to the population of the regions in 2021. The figure includes selected regions only. Regions were chosen to ensure unemployment rates could be computed with sufficient precision in the Labour Force Survey.

Employment trends

Between 2015 and 2022, the employment increased by 14%



  • The employment has increased between 2015 and 2022 except between 2019 and 2020, probably due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The employment increased by 22% for Higher poverty - lower NEET quadrant, while the employment growth in Lower poverty - lower NEET qudrant was 14%, in Higher poverty - higher NEET quadrant was 12% and in Lower poverty - higher NEET qudrant was 10%.
  • In Lower poverty - higher NEET regions, the size of employed individuals decreased between 2018 and 2019 while it slightly increased between 2019 and 2020.
  • The regions in Lower poverty - lower NEET quadrant contributes to over half of the employment in Australia while the regions in Higher poverty - higher NEET quadrant contributes to the one-third portion.
  • The shares of Higher poverty - lower NEET and Lower poverty - higher NEET quadrants to employment in after 2020 are almost equal.

Notes: Employment (total employed individuals) and vacancies for the year are computed from the average of monthly vacancies within a year. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. These statistics are computed by the Melbourne Institute using statistics from Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation, and Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) of the National Skills Commission (NSC), Commonwealth of Australia. Used under Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence.

Employment trends, by skill level and job title

Between 2015 and 2022, some jobs grew by up to 61% while some jobs shrinked by up to 17%



  • The total employed for ICT professionals increased by 61%, followed by Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals at 39% and Specialist Managers at 38%.
  • The total employed for Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers decreased by 17%, followed by Personal assistant and Secretaries at 9% and Clerical and Office Support Workers at 7%.
  • The top three occupations with highest share in each quadrant of youth poverty and NEET in 2022 are:
    • Lower poverty - higher NEET regions: Specialist Managers (6%), Sales Assistants and Salespersons (6%), Carers and Aides (5%).
    • Higher poverty - higher NEET regions: Caters and Aides (6%), Specialist Managers (6%), and Sales Assistants and Salespersons (6%).
    • Lower poverty - lower NEET regions: Business, Human Resource and Training Professionals (8%), Specialist Managers (8%), and Health Professionals (6%).
    • Higher poverty - lower NEET regions: Specialist Managers (7%), Carers and Aides (6%), and Business, Human Resource and Training Professionals (6%).

Notes: Employment (total employed individuals) and vacancies for the year are computed from the average of monthly vacancies within a year. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. ABS provides the above measure of skill level as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of an occupation. For more details, click here. These statistics are computed by the Melbourne Institute using statistics from Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation, and Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) of the National Skills Commission (NSC), Commonwealth of Australia. Used under Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence.

Vacancies trends

Between 2015 and 2022, total vacancies have increased by 74%



  • The size of total annual vacancies observed decreased between 2018 and 2020 after which it significantly increased.
  • The vacancies increased by 83% for Higher poverty - lower NEET quadrant, while the employment growth in Lower poverty - lower NEET qudrant was 69%, in Higher poverty - higher NEET quadrant was 82% and in Lower poverty - higher NEET qudrant was 74%.
  • The regions in Lower poverty - lower NEET quadrant contributes to over half of the employment in Australia while the regions in Higher poverty - higher NEET quadrant contributes to the one-third portion.
  • The share of vacancies in Higher poverty - lower NEET quadrant has been higher than that in Lower poverty - higher NEET quadrant except in 2020.

Notes: Employment (total employed individuals) and vacancies for the year are computed from the average of monthly vacancies within a year. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. ABS provides the above measure of skill level as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of an occupation. For more details, click here. These statistics are computed by the Melbourne Institute using statistics from Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation, and Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) of the National Skills Commission (NSC), Commonwealth of Australia. Used under Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence.

Vacancies trends, by skill level and job title

Between 2015 and 2022, vacancies for some jobs increased by up to 308% while vacancies for some jobs shrinked by up to 10%



  • The vacancies for Food Preparation Assistants by 308.2%, followed by Hospitality Workers at 199% and Farmers and Farm Managers at 174%.
  • Personal assistant and Secretaries was the only job for which vacancies decreased by 10%.
  • The top three occupations with highest share in each quadrant of youth poverty and NEET in 2022 are:
    • Lower poverty - higher NEET regions: Health Professionals (8%), Specialist Managers (6%), and Sales Assistants and Salespersons (6%).
    • Higher poverty - higher NEET regions: Health Professionals (8%), Specialist Managers (7%), and Business, Human Resource and Training Professionals (6%).
    • Lower poverty - lower NEET regions: Specialist Managers (8%),Business, Human Resource and Training Professionals (8%), and ICT Professionals (6%).
    • Higher poverty - lower NEET regions: Specialist Managers (8%),Business, Human Resource and Training Professionals (8%), and ICT Professionals (6%).

Notes: Employment (total employed individuals) and vacancies for the year are computed from the average of monthly vacancies within a year. Regions are labour market areas (SA4) regions. ABS provides the above measure of skill level as a function of the range and complexity of the set of tasks performed in a particular occupation. The greater the range and complexity of the set of tasks, the greater the skill level of an occupation. For more details, click here. These statistics are computed by the Melbourne Institute using statistics from Nowcast of Employment by Region and Occupation, and Internet Vacancy Index (IVI) of the National Skills Commission (NSC), Commonwealth of Australia. Used under Creative Commons BY 4.0 licence.

You can check the employment, vacancies, the ratio for any selected job title in a selected region.

YouthView is a tool that offers important data insights on youth transitions in Australia. It can be used by policymakers, schools, and communities to better understand the challenges and dynamics faced by young people. The tool provides interactive data visualisations that can be filtered at different levels, such as local, state, and national, and covers indicators like poverty, engagement, and opportunities.

Although currently a prototype, YouthView aims to include more measures of youth and youth transitions in the future. It will be continuously developed on feedback and available data. If you would like to provide feedback, please contact us here.

Methodology

YouthView is a project that aims to measure youth disadvantage and employment at a community and regional level in Australia. To obtain accurate data, the project utilizes the 100% Australian Census of Population and Housing for 2016 and 2021, which provides information on various factors such as education, employment, income, and housing. Furthermore, the project links the Census data with other sources, including data on employment, vacancies, and individual-level data linked to the Census using the Person-Level Integrated Data Asset (PLIDA). For more details on methodology and information, click here.

Suggested citation

KC, U., Marchand, S. and Payne, A.A. (2024) YouthView Dashboard, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne. Data visualisation. https://youthview.melbourneinstitute.unimelb.edu.au/

Project credits

This project was funded by grants from the Lord Mayor Charitable Foundation and Paul Ramsay Foundation. Any opinions, findings, or conclusions expressed in these reports are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute, or its funders.

Design and development: Dr Ujjwal KC, Dr Steeve Marchand, Professor A. Abigail Payne
Research support: Shirin Tejani and Shrey Varshney

We thank all members of Breaking Down Barriers (BDB) team for their continued support and feedback.

© Copyright 2024 Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research, The University of Melbourne.