The number of young people
According to the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth, as well as the European Commission people aged 15–29 are considered young. Compared to the situation before independence, there are generally fewer young people in Slovenia today. Their share in the total population was 24.1% before independence compared to 17.2% today. The majority of young people live in the Central Slovenia statistical region, which is largely the result of concentration of the student population.
In 2014, one out of six young people had at least higher vocational education. In 1991, only one out of seventeen had this level of education, which means that 16.7% of young people had at least higher vocational education in 2014, while the percentage was only 6% in 1991.
In 1991, 47.5% of secondary education students and 43.8% of higher vocational and higher education students received scholarships, while in 2014, the percentage was slightly lower (45.3% of secondary education students and 26.9% of higher vocational and higher education students). The majority of scholarship holders received state scholarships. In 1991, the share of state scholarships was 56%, while in 2014 it was 78%.
Since Slovenia gained its independence, the number of marriages among young people has dropped considerably. A less drastic drop (by a fifth) in marriages was recorded in the general population. Among young people, the number of grooms has decreased by two thirds, while the number of brides has decreased by more than half. More precisely 78.6% of grooms and 88.2% of brides were part of the younger population in 1988. In 2014, however, there were only 35.6% of grooms and 51% of brides in this age group.
People’s age at marriage is also increasing. In 1988, for instance, the average age of grooms and brides was 27.3 and 24.4 years, respectively. In 2014, grooms and brides were 7 years older on average. The average age of grooms and brides in 2014 already exceeded 30 years (34.5 years for grooms and 31.8 years for brides).
Nevertheless, the majority of grooms and brides are up to 29 years old. In 1991, the majority of grooms were 25–29 years old (3,254), while the majority of brides were between 20–24 years of age (3,987). Thus, in 2014, most grooms and brides were in the age group of 25–29 years.
In 1991, 6001 men and 682 women in the age group of 15–29 years married for the first time, while the figures for 2014 were 2315 and 3309, respectively.
The average duration of marriage until divorce is 14 years in Slovenia. Hence, there are not many divorces among the young.
Starting a family
In 1991, young mothers (under the age of 30) gave birth to 17.143 children, while in 2014, 9.640 children were born to young mothers. In other words: 59 children per 1,000 young women were born in 2014 and 77 in 1991.
In 2014, the average age of mothers at the birth of their first child was 29.1, while in 1991, the year in which Slovenia gained its independence, they were exactly five years younger at first birth (24.1 years) and 30 years ago (in 1984) they were 6 years younger. Women increasingly decide to have their first, second or third child after they turn 30.
The number of employed and self-employed young people declined when compared to 19 years ago, while the share of the self-employed has increased. In December 1995, the total number of employed young people was 193,112 and of these, 4% were self-employed. In December 2014, there were 105,711 employed young people in total, 8% of which were self-employed.
Compared to the situation a decade ago, the registered unemployment rate among the young in 2014 was 4.3 percentage points higher (22.5% in 2014 and 18.2% in 2005). Like ten years ago, the registered unemployment rate among the young exceeds the Slovenian average, which was 10.2% in 2005 and 13.1% in 2014.
The profile of a 25-year old
At the age of 25, people predominantly have secondary school education. In 1991, there were 21% males and females with an education level of elementary or lesser, while in 2014, this level of education was recorded in 7% of females and 12% of males. The differences as regards tertiary education are even greater (tertiary education comprises higher vocational, higher undergraduate and higher postgraduate education) since, as a rule, females complete their studies earlier than males. In 1991, there were 7% of males and 15% of females with a tertiary level of education, while in 2014, one in every five males (20%) and one in every three females (37%) had this level of education.
In 1991, 59% of 25-year-old males and 33% of 25-year-old females were married, while an additional 5.4% of 25-year-old females and 3.8% of 25-year-old males lived in non-marital partnerships. In 2015, only 12.8% of 25-year-old females and 5.4% of 25-year-old males were married. When compared to 1991, slightly more 25-year-old females (8.9%) and slightly fewer 25-year-old males (3.8%) lived in non-marital partnerships.
Number of children
Among all 25-year-old females, 78% have not given birth yet, 16% have given birth to one child and 5% to two children.
Employment and salary
An average 25-year-old is employed.
The average net salary of the employed at 25 years of age was EUR 515 in 2004 and EUR 792 in 2014. Salaries of people aged 25 were slightly below the average for the young population (age 15–29). The average net salary of the young was EUR 547 in 2004 and EUR 835 in 2014. People aged 25 also had lower average salary when compared to the general employed population, in 2004 as well as in 2014. Namely, the average net salary of the employed was EUR 699 in 2004 and EUR 1,066 in 2014.
data source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
Satisfaction of youth
Among young, 80% are generally satisfied with their lives (source: Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia, 2015). On average, young people in Slovenia are more satisfied with their lives (7.8) than young people in Europe (source: The Young People in Slovenia (Mladi v Sloveniji) bulletin, published by the Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia). Thus, regardless of economic trends in recent years, young people in Slovenia remain optimistic about their personal future. Nevertheless, there is increased concern related to lack of money, housing issues and employment uncertainty. These are the essential challenges of today for young people in Slovenia.
The young are the pillars of the world
Today, youth are an important development resource of humanity and an essential source of innovation and positive changes in society. Unfortunately, many factors prevent this potential from being harnessed, as young people are still insufficiently recognised and largely neglected in the majority of countries worldwide. This is why Slovenia has long been striving to create conditions for better inclusion of young people in decision-making processes, as this is one of the key conditions for the development of society. In Slovenia, young people are, in many ways, included in searching for solutions that concern them directly and those that concern society as a whole. Particularly standing out after 2001 is a structured dialogue through which young people discuss essential issues that concern their existence and status in society with decision-makers at the local, regional and national levels. Furthermore, voluntary work, student work and youth work are the most important forms of participation by young people in the Slovenian labour market.
Among forms of participation, young people in Slovenia most commonly participate in voluntary activities (35.7%), which represent a central mechanism of social inclusion of young people and results in more than a hundred thousand young volunteers annually. Voluntary activities of young people are predominantly related to safety and tidiness of their place of residence and to the interests of youth in their local environments. This indicates that young people in Slovenia have a highly developed sense of social justice and solidarity, which can largely be proved by the expressed willingness to help people in distress in the event of natural disasters or other forms of help for the public benefit. This form of solidarity is usually performed through membership in youth organisations (scouts, young fire-fighters) or through participation of young people in civil protection or the military. Apart from this, young people are most frequently members of organisations in the fields of sports, recreation and culture, while their membership in political parties is considerably lower. An indispensable role in these fields is again played by youth organisations that, through various forms of training, enable young people to influence society, helping them achieve economic and social independence, thus contributing to the development of the country, while all of the skills acquired by young people in youth organisations are preserved and can be used when they are older. Through their participation in decision-making processes during childhood and early youth, young people develop an understanding of public (political) decision-making. Since independence, Slovenia recognises the importance of young people through educating them to become responsible citizens and encouraging their autonomy by acquiring competences for independent life.
The recent generations of young people in Slovenia are considered to be the most educated generations since independence and knowledge of foreign languages is on the increase. Generally, young people show a great desire to be autonomous, to assume responsible and demanding tasks and to make decisions. Since independence, young people have become increasingly mobile, not only in terms of classical modes of travel but particularly in terms of participation in numerous international activities and exchanges that include international research camps and similar activities carried out by numerous youth organisations, among which the Erasmus+ Youth in Action programme stands out most notably.
Social and Economic changes that occurred in Europe and within it Slovenia during the transition reshaped Slovenian society and markedly affected the status and development of young people. Today, young people value individual needs more than collective rights; they see their personal success and career success as most important, as these are what ensure them the desired quality of life. Young people in Slovenia are faced with a variety of problems and various forms of pressure. If they want to be successful in the labour market, they must be successful in school and complete their studies; society has great expectations for young people and apart from that, they must be very flexible and mobile in order to find stable employment. In the near future, the EU and Slovenia will have to more actively address a new demographic challenge – ageing of the population and a decline in the young population. As a consequence of these processes, the characteristics of the labour force are changing and adapting. In Europe as well as in Slovenia, the number of young workers will decline, making us more dependent on the forthcoming generations. Hence, an urgent warning should be stressed that today, we must adequately prepare and empower young people to be able to assume this responsibility.
Chapters "Satisfaction of youth" and "The young are the pillars of the world" prepared by: Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth