In the EU, more than one in four young people from a migrant background leave education and training too early.

Efforts in education are critical to preparing immigrants, and particularly their descendants, to be more successful and more active participants in society (Conclusions of the Council and the Representatives of the Governments of Member States on Integration, 4.5.2010).

The indicator considered here is the percentage of young people aged 18 to 24 who leave education and training early. It is calculated for all young people in that age group and is further specified for two particular sub-groups: young people born abroad and young people with foreign citizenship.

Key points

  • In 2010, in the EU, the shares of foreign-born and foreign young people who left education and training early (30% and 26%, respectively) were much higher than the corresponding average for all 18-24 years olds (14%). In some countries, the difference was more than 10 percentage points.
  • In 2010, the risk of a young person from a migrant background leaving education and training early was highest in four southern European countries (Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal). Greece had the highest share of foreign-born young people who were early leavers (44%) and the United Kingdom had the lowest share (10%). Greece also had the highest share of foreign young people who were early leavers (47%) with Luxembourg having the lowest share (10%). These findings are all based on available country figures.
  • In 2010, the incidence of early leaving among foreign-born young people, compared with the country average for all 18-24 year-olds, was particularly high in Greece and Italy (with, respectively, 30 and 22 percentage points more than the country average), followed by Spain, Cyprus, Austria, Germany and France (with between 12 and 15 percentage points more than the country average).
  • Similar differences were recorded for early leaving among all young people and early leaving among foreign young people, with Greece and Italy having the biggest differences (+33 and +25 percentage points, respectively) followed by other countries (Spain, Germany, Cyprus, France, Austria and Belgium) with differences that are smaller but still more than 10 percentage points.
  • The situation was reversed only in the United Kingdom, and partly in Portugal, where the average early leaving for the overall population of young people was higher than for young people from a foreign background.



The indicator considers the share of young people aged 18-24 who are defined as early leavers from education and training, i.e. 18-24 year-olds with at most lower secondary education (ISCED 0-2 or 3c short) who declared that they have not received any education or training in the four weeks preceding the survey. The indicator is further specified for foreign young people and foreign-born young people. Foreigners or foreign population refers to persons who are not citizens of the country in which they reside, including persons of unknown citizenship and stateless persons. Foreign-born refers to persons whose place of birth, or the place of residence of the mother at the time of the birth, is outside the country of his or her usual residence.

Data originate from the EU Labour Force Survey and are subject to its methodology. Data were processed by DESTATIS and published on the Eurostat website. Data were extracted from the Eurostat online database on 22 May 2012. When interpreting the data, possible differences in national implementation of the EU LFS should be taken into account. Two approaches were considered in calculating the figures (i.e. country of birth and citizenship) to account for the different institutional settings which, in the EU Member States, can affect the specification of the migrant background of young people.

Data for some countries and/or for some dimensions are not presented either because the data were not available or owing to sample size limitations.