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Continuous PNAD

One out of every four women aged 15 to 29 were not working or studying in 2023

Section: Social Statistics | Luiz Bello e Vinícius Britto | Design: Licia Rubinstein

March 22, 2024 10h00 AM | Last Updated: March 25, 2024 11h18 PM

  • Highlights

  • Among youngsters aged 15 to 29, 19.8%, being 14.2% of men and 25.6% of women, were neither working nor studying.
  • In the group aged 14-29, 9.0 million did not have a high school degree, either for having dropped out of school or for never neverhaving attended school. In this group of persons, 27.4% were white and 71.6% were black or brown.
  • For 53.4% of the men, the main reason for dropping out of school was the necessity to work, followed by lack of interest in studying (25.5%). Among women, the main reason was also the necessity to work (25.5%), followed by pregnancy (23.1%).
  • Approximately 70.6% of the black and brown population aged 18 to 24 were not attending school and had not obtained a higher education degree, whereas among white persons the same age, the rate was of 57.0%.
  • For white persons aged 18-24, 36.5% were studying, whereas among black or brown one the rate hit 26.5%.
  • About 29.5% of the white students aged 18-24 were in higher education, a rate that was 16.4% among black or brown women in the same age group.
  • A total of 6.5% of the white persons aged 18-24 had obtained an undergraduate degree, whereas for black or brown persons the same age the proportion was more than 50% lower: 2.9%.
Among persons aged 15-29, 19.8% were not working or studying, a proportion that was 14.2% for men and 25.6% for women - Photo: Cristiano Fbeing errari/USP Imagens

In Brazil, in 2023, there were 48.5 million persons aged 15 to 29 and 15.3% of them were working and studying, 19.8% were not working or studying, 25.5% were not working, but were studying and 39.4% were employed but not working. The data come from the annual edition of the Continuous National Household Sample Survey (PNAD), Education. See also the news on illiteracy and schooling rates.

About 25.6% of the women were not working, nor studying, whereas 14.2% of the men were in the same condition. On the other hand, the proportion of men who only worked (47.3%) exceeded that of women (31.3%) in the same condition.

Among white persons, 18.4% were working and studying, a higher percentage than that of black or brown persons (13.2%). The percentage of black or brown persons who were not working or studying (22.4%) was significantly above that of white persons (15.8%) in this condition.

School dropout increases from the age of 15

In the age group of 14-29, 9.0 million people had not obtained a high school diploma, either for having dropped out of school or for never never having attended school. This group was formed by 58.1% of men and 41.9% of women. Considering color or race, 27.4% were white and 71.6% were black or brown.

The highest percentages of dropout were observed among those aged 16 (16.0%), reaching 21.1% at 18, the age that also recorded the highest increase from 2019 (5.4 p.p).

Nevertheless, “the real point of change was the age 15, which, in general, is the age of admission to high school. At this age, the percentage of youngsters that dropped out of school (12.6%) almost doubled in comparison with age 14 (0.6%),” says Adriana Beringuy, coordinator of household surveys at the IBGE.

Necessity to work and pregnancy are the main reasons for school dropout

In 2023, 41.7% of the youngsters aged 14-29 with a level of education below high school reported that necessity to work was the main reason for school dropout or for not having attended school, a proportion that increased by 1.5 p.p. from 2022.

According to 53.4% of the men in this age group, the main reason for dropping out of school was the necessity to work, followed by lack of interest in studying (25.5%). For women, the main reason was also the necessity to work (25.5%), followed by pregnancy (23.1%) and for lack of interest in studying (20.7%).

Furthermore, 9.5% of the women, doing housework or taking care of persons were the main reasons for having dropped out of school or for not having attended schoo, whereas among men, that percentage was not significant (0.8%).

70.6% of black or brown youngsters dropped out of school without completing higher education

In 2023, the schooling rate of persons aged 18-24 was 30.5%, a percentage close to that of 2022. A total of 21.6% of these youngsters were attending higher education courses and 8.9% were delayed in school, still attending basic education. Other 4.3% had obtained a higher education diploma and 65.2% were not attending school and had not finished higher education.

Among black or brown persons in the same age group, 26.5% were studyng and only 16.4% were attending an undergraduate course. In the same age group, 6.5% of the white persons had obtained a higher education degree, more than twice the proportion of black or brown persons who had obtained a higher education degree.

Whereas 57.0% of the white persons aged 18-24 dropped out of school without having finished higher education; for black or brown persons the rate reached 70.6%. Among white persons in this age group, 36.5% were studying and 29.5% were in higher education.

“When a person completes basic education at the proper age, they start higher education between the ages 18-24. Nevertheless, school failure and dropout are present in elementary/middle school and in high school. As a result, a lot of youngsters in this age group are no longer attending school, or are still in basic education,” the coordinator explains.

In 2023, a higher percentage of women aged 18-24 were attending school (33.4% versus 27.7% of men). Besides, 25.1% of them were undergraduate students and 5.1% had obtained a diploma, whereas, among men, the percentages were, respectively, 18.3% and 3.5%.

“Target 12 of the PNE establishes that net school attendance of persons aged 18-24 in higher education must increase to 33% by 2024. In 2023, in Brazil, this target had been reached only among white persons, with a rate of 36.0%. The challenge of Brazil will be to reduce inequalities, combat school failure and contribute to permanence in school.”

More about the survey

The Continuous National Household Sample Survey (Continuous PNAD) investigates, on a quarterly basis, a group of short-term information on the trends and fluctuations of the Brazilian workforce, and, on an annual basis, relevants structural topics that add to the unserstand the Brazilian reality.

The annual Continuous PNAD module of Education analyses illiteracy of persons aged 15 and over, the level of education and the average years of schooling of persons aged 25 and over, the schooling rate by age groups, the adjusted net school attendance rates and the status of employment and schooling of persons aged 15-29, among other topics.

In the second quarter of 2020, first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the IBGE changed the form of data collection, and the interviews, which were previoulsy conducted face-to-face, started being carried out exclusively by telephone, up to the end of Q2 2021. This form of obtention of data caused impacts on collection and, therefore, a considerable reduction in the success rate of the sample, in 2020 and 2021. Due to the lack of information for this period, the survey time series encompasses the period 2016-2019 and the years 2022 and 2023.



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