Greek Youth – Unemployment

Greek Youth – Unemployment
Demographic data on Greek youth shows that the population of young people aged 15-29 has been continuously declining through the decades 1951-2010; in 2001 this group represented a mere 22% (2,409,064) of the total population, while in 1951 the corresponding figure was close to 28% (National Statistical Service of Greece, 1951-2001). According to Eurostat data, in 2006, young people of 15-29 years of age represented only 19% of the general population ( ). Future projections are even more pessimistic since, according again to Eurostat data, old age dependency ratio, from 27.77 in 2008, will eventually increase to 57.12 in 2060.
Concerning the socioeconomic conditions of modern Greek youth, official data indicate that unemployment rates, in spite of considerable periodic fluctuation, are considerably higher among young individuals, compared to older age groups. Indeed, unemployment rates for the group of 15-19 years old were estimated at 30,9 %, young males aged 15-29 years at 26,9%, while young females aged 15-29 years at 35,8% (N.S.S.G, Labour Force Research, first trimester 2011). These unemployment rates represent almost the double of the average national unemployment figures, thus revealing the serious problems that young people have to face during their transition from education to labour market. At the same time, due to the current economic crisis, unemployment rates have skyrocketed because of massive redundancies in the private sector. During the last year, from the first trimester of 2010 to the first one of 2011, youth unemployment has increased from 22.3% to 30.9%. However, today’s bad situation is simply the continuation of a long term unemployment trend during the last decade in Greece.

Greek young people leave their parental home very late, i.e. males at the age of 30 and females at the age of 28 (Eurostat& European Commission, 2009:29). Unemployment undoubtedly exercises a significant impact on this practice, along with other important factors, such as strong ties with the family of origin, extension of schooling, as well as regular material and emotional support provided by parents. A steady job, along with a steady relationship with a partner, are factors contributing to young people seeking a more autonomous life, away from parental protection. Almost 55% of young Greeks declare that ‘I can’t afford to move out from my parents’ home (Eurostat, European Commission 2009: Figure 2.3: 31).
Consequently, this long-drawn problematic transitional phase increasingly makes young people financially dependent on their parents, long after their adolescence. Indeed, Greek families constitute a major source of support and protection for young people, compared to public structures or institutions The average age of primary employment, marriage and family formation has been pushed back, as more education and skill development is required to take on adult roles. Transition to adulthood is prolonged for those youngsters whose families have the economic and cultural resources to invest in their human capital. More than 90% of Greek young people aged 19 are still in formal education, either in upper-secondary education or in tertiary education (more than 70%) [Eurostat& European Commission 2009, Figure 4.3: 74].
More importantly, it seems that Greek young adults remain loyal to the traditional family concept. Indicatively, only a small percentage of children are being born out of wedlock, i.e. in 1996 3% while in 2001 5% of total births. On the contrary, this percentage has significantly increased in other Mediterranean countries, for example, in Spain from 12% to 28%, in Italy from 8% to 19%. While in the UK it is over 44% (Eurostat& European Commission, 2009: Figure 2.4: 40).
Greek families consistently provide not only material assistance, i.e. financial support or housing facilities, but also emotional support to their young ones, for particularly long periods of time. These findings support theoretical approaches arguing for the existence of a distinctive Mediterranean type of welfare state.

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~ by chtouris on September 6, 2011.

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