Are Some Canadian Youth NEETer than Others? Examining North-South and Rural-Urban Inequalities in Education, Employment, and Training


  • Darcy Hango Statistics Canada
  • David Zarifa Nipissing University
  • Brad Seward University of Toronto



NEET, North, Rural, young adults, labour market, education, unemployment, region


A growing body of research studies youth not actively involved in education, employment, or training (NEET). Some recent estimates of NEET place Canadian youth at slightly below the OECD average. At the same time, however, researchers have identified a number of regional barriers that present unique challenges to labour market participation for Canadians residing in northern and rural areas. In this article, we investigate the extent to which regional differences contribute to the labour market inactivity of Canadian youth. Using multiple waves of Statistics Canada’s Youth in Transition Survey (YITS-A), we find that indeed NEET rates differ for youth who reside in northern and southern Canada. Northern, rural youth show significantly higher probabilities of being NEET between ages 20 and 22. Moreover, these regional differences in NEET status continue to have a strong and independent effect, even when accounting for socio-demographic characteristics, parental socio-economic factors, educational experiences, and family structure. These inequalities in early workforce outcomes have important implications for policy-makers, as they seek new ways of bolstering the school to work transitions of northern and rural youth.

Author Biographies

Darcy Hango, Statistics Canada

Senior Researcher
*The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and should not be construed as those held by Statistics Canada.

David Zarifa, Nipissing University

Professor, Sociology

Brad Seward, University of Toronto

Assistant Professor, Center for Industrial Relations and Human Resources





Research Articles