Progressing youth

Analysing the Youth Progress Index to develop insights into youth-related public policy

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Around the world, today’s youth are facing challenges and upheavals that threaten their ability to progress and potentially succeed in the future. From the technological advancements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the resulting uncertainties around future jobs, to weak labour markets and political anxiety, the outlook can seem daunting.

Understanding the factors that impact the quality of life of young people is important if society is to know where and how to focus its resources to address the problems facing our youth. This is why Deloitte was one of 6 organisations to jointly develop the Youth Progress Index (YPI), released in May 2018.

The YPI is an initiative that seeks to highlight young people’s level of wellbeing across the world by measuring and ranking 102 countries using 60 indicators of social and environmental performance specific to the youth population. Ireland is one of the highest global performers in terms of youth progress. It ranks 9th overall on the Index, among 102 measured countries, and ranks 5th in the European Union . In particular, Ireland’s youth benefit from comparatively high levels of inclusion and access to advanced education.


Youth Progress Index Scores

1 Norway


2 Finland


3 Denmark


4 Iceland


5 Sweden


6 Canada


7 Netherlands


8 Switzerland


9 Ireland


10 New Zealand



Table: YPI Country Scores

Using the YPI data, Deloitte has now developed further analysis, titled Progressing Youth, that provides governments and businesses with insights that help them make a greater impact on youth progress in two key areas: technology and civics. The new report finds that improved access to certain technology factors correlates to improved basic human needs, foundations of wellbeing, and opportunity.

Key findings show that:

  • Widespread digitisation and connectivity have a positive influence on young people’s lives, both globally and in the EU. In particular, providing high bandwidth capacity, schools with internet access, and women’s access to the internet, are associated with youth development.
  •  Also, countries with a favorable business environment and efficient e-government platforms perform better at creating opportunities for youth, whereas unfair practices, such as corruption, do not.
  • At a EU level, YPI’s results tell a positive story about EU membership and the social progress of young people: 5 EU countries make the global top ten, and 21 are in the top 30. To also note that the lack of involvement of youth in the civil society compromises the social progress of young people, suggesting the importance of promoting active youth citizenship. Moreover, high NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rates challenge youth progress suggesting a policy focus in areas that facilitate learning and skills development, amongst others, could improve the lives of young people across the Union.

To do so, Progressing Youth provides a series of recommendations to provide more targeted and successful support for youth worldwide. Although youth in every country will need different support, based on local circumstances, leaders from business, government, and society should consider how these recommendations can be incorporated into their jurisdictions.

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