Early school leavers


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Phenomenon on the decrease, but figures still a long way from European targets     


Reducing the early school leaving rate to below 10 percent is one of the targets set by the Europe 2020 Strategy to be reached by the end of the decade in the field of education and training. This target, in fact, is nothing but a reformulation of what was defined as a priority by the previous Lisbon Strategy, but not reached by the due date (2010) by the majority of European countries, including Italy. In general, the decision not to continue one’s studies, often an indicator of social hardship concentrated in less developed areas, is common even in most prosperous regions, where high labour demand exerts an undeniable attraction on young people, dissuading them from completing their studies in favour of relatively easy access to employment. Although the phenomenon is steadily decreasing in Italy, it is still a long way from the European targets: in 2013 the percentage of young people who gave up their studies early was 17.0 percent, 20.2 percent among men and 13.7 percent among women.



Comparisons at European level

icona Early school leavers in Eu countries by sex
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Comparisons at regional level

icona Early school leavers by gender and region

icona Early school leavers by region

Time series

icona Early school leavers by sex and region
 - ods]

Definitions used

In the European comparison the indicator identifies the percentage of the population aged 18-24 that has left education early without obtaining a qualification beyond ‘level 3C short’ in the international classification of education levels (Isced 97). This indicator, in the Italian education system, is equivalent to the percentage of the population aged 18-24 who, after obtaining their middle-school certificate (designated “scuola secondaria di primo grado” or “lower secondary school”), have not completed any vocational training course of at least 2 years and are not attending either school courses or other training activities. In 2011, the time series has been revised to take account of changes recently made by Eurostat  in non-response treatment. Data can, therefore, in some cases slightly differ from those published in previous years. National and regional data are provisional as they are not adjusted on the results of the 2011 population census.


Istat, Rilevazione sulle forze di lavoro

Eurostat, Labour force survey


Oecd, Education at a glance, 2014

Eurostat, Europe in figures - Yearbook: Education and training

Useful links


Well-being indicators



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