The share of “early school leavers” (young people aged 18-24 leaving early from education and training) has steadily decreased in the EU over the last 10 years, from 13 % in 2012 to 10 % in 2022. But still, there is some way to go to reach the target of reducing the rates of early school leavers at the EU level to below 9 % by 2030.
Data show that more young men left education and training early than women in 2022, 11 % of men vs 8% of women. The share of men decreased from almost 15% in 2012 to 11 % in 2022. Regarding young women, the share fell from almost 11 % in 2012 to 8 % in 2022.
Compared with 2012, two-thirds of all EU members reported a smaller share of early leavers in 2022, except for Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Austria, Slovakia and Sweden, which reported small increases (the highest being around +2 pp).
Lowest share of early school leavers in Croatia; highest in Romania and Spain
In 2022, the EU members that reported the lowest shares of early leavers from education and training were Croatia (2%), Ireland, Slovenia and Greece (each 4%), Poland and Lithuania (each 5%).
In contrast, the highest shares were recorded in Romania (16%), Spain (14%), Hungary, Germany and Italy (each 12%).
Eighteen EU members have already met the EU-level target for 2030 for this indicator: Belgium, Czechia, Ireland, Greece, France, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland and Sweden.
In 2022, the share of early leavers from education and training was lower for young women than for young men across all EU members apart from Bulgaria (men 9 %, women 12 %) and Greece (men 4 %, women 5 %).
For more information:
- Statistics Explained article on early leavers from education and training
- Thematic section on education and training
- Database on education and training
- The indicator ‘early leavers from education and training’ is defined as the percentage of the population aged 18-24 with at most a lower secondary education and not in further (formal or non-formal) education or training during the four weeks preceding the survey. ‘At most lower secondary education’ refers to ISCED (International Standard Classification of Education) 2011 level 0-2 for data from 2014 onwards and to ISCED 1997 level 0-3C short for data up to 2013. The change of ISCED has no impact on the comparability over time of this indicator for all Member States, except Estonia.
- Break in time series in 2014 and 2021.
- Low reliability for Croatia.