“Neither-Nor” youth grows during the pandemic

youth unemployment brazil
Photo: Fernanda Carvalho/Fotos Publicas

The number of Brazilian NEETs — that is, a young person “Not in Education, Employment, or Training” — grew during the Covid-19 pandemic. A study by think tank Fundação Getulio Vargas found that the increase is down to the deterioration of the labor market, rather than an increase in school dropouts.

In Q4 2020, the number of people between 15 and 29 that neither studied nor worked reached 25.52 percent, up from 23.66 percent in the same period of 2019. At the beginning of the pandemic, the number of NEETs (known in Brazil as “nem-nem”) broke all-time records, hitting 29.33 percent in Q2 2020.

The survey found that certain demographic groups are more likely to be NEETs. Uneducated teenagers (66.81%), residents of Brazil’s Northeast (32%), women (31.29%), and black people (29.09%) are the ones that suffer most. 

Brazil’s total NEET population sits at roughly 11 million, according to the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE). That is more than the entire population of Portugal.