International Youth Day
The number of youth in Slovenia down, the number of the elderly up – what differences do the statistics show us?
In the last decade, the number of young people has decreased by 15%, and the number of elderly people has increased by 29%. Many young people live with their parents, and more and more older people live alone. 10% of the young and 17% of the elderly lived below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold.
Fewer and fewer young people
There is no uniform definition of young people. People between the ages of 15 and 29 years are often considered young, but not infrequently also between the ages of 15 and 24 years or between the ages of 15 and 34 years. On the other hand, older residents are most often those who are at least 65 years old.
At the beginning of 2022, 308,000 residents of Slovenia were aged 15–29 years and 445,000 were at least 65 years old. Since the beginning of 2012, the number of the former has gone down by 15%, while the number of the latter has gone up by 29%, causing the older generation to catch up with and overtake the younger generation. In 2012, there were about 20,000 more young people than older people. In 2022, there were 136,000 fewer.
Half of young people (15–29 years) have completed upper secondary education, 31% basic education and 19% tertiary education. It should be taken into account that a significant share of people in this age group still participate in education. Among 29-year-olds, the educational structure is already quite different: 7% have completed basic education, 52% upper secondary education and 41% tertiary education.
The largest share of older people (65+) has upper secondary education (48%), followed by those who have basic education (38%) and those with tertiary education (14%). The educational structure has improved in the last ten years among the young as well as the older age group.
Just under half of older residents have no digital skills
Active participation in the digital society requires digital skills and knowledge of using information and communication technology. There are significant differences between the young and the older. More than 60% of young people (16–24 years) had above basic or basic overall digital skills, while among the older (65–74 years) this share was slightly less than a fifth. Only 2% of young people and as many as 45% of older people had no overall digital skills.
In 2021, practically all young people were using the Internet, 98% of them every day or almost every day. Among older people, 69% were using the Internet, 48% of them daily or almost every day. Among older non-users of the Internet, more than half stated that they had no need to use it, 39% found the Internet not interesting, and 28% did not have the necessary skills to use a computer or the Internet.
The use of smartphones is increasing among the older residents as well. Of those who were using mobile phones, 58% had a smartphone and 42% a mobile phone with only basic functions, e.g. possibility of making calls or sending SMS messages. Before 2021, this population had been predominantly using mobile phones with only basic functions. Among young mobile phone users, 96% were smartphone users.
The risk-of-poverty rate among young people lower than among older people
In 2021, 11.7% of residents of Slovenia, i.e. about 243,000 people, were living in households with income below the at-risk-of-poverty threshold. Among young people, the at-risk-of-poverty rate was slightly lower (9.9%). About 16,000 young men and 15,000 young women were at risk of poverty. Among the older population, 17.1% or 68,000 persons were living below the threshold. In this age group, however, the difference between genders was much larger. The at-risk-of-poverty rate for men aged 65+ was 12.7% and for women 20.6%.
Young people could afford selected goods and services more easily than older people. The reasons for not being able to afford them were, particularly among older people, most often not of a financial nature.
Many young people live with their parents, and an increasing number of older people live alone
According to Eurostat data for the year 2021, young people in Slovenia moved away from their parents at an average age of 29.6 years: men at 30.9 years, women at 28.1 years. This placed Slovenia in the top third of the EU Member States in terms of average age at moving out. The average for the EU-27 was 26.5 years. The average ages at moving out were the lowest in Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
64% of young people (15–29 years) lived in one- or two-dwelling buildings, 27% in buildings with three or more dwellings, 4% in student dormitories, and 5% in other forms of accommodation such as singles' homes, dwellings in predominantly non-residential buildings, special communities, etc. Of the young people living in regular dwellings (excluding collective and other accommodations), 85% were users of dwellings where the owners were mostly parents, 10% lived in rented dwellings, in half of the cases together with their parents, and 4% had the status of an owner or co-owner of dwellings in which they lived.
90% of residents aged 65+ lived in owner-occupied dwellings where at least one of the residents was the owner or co-owner of the dwelling, 4% in rented dwellings, and 6% in user dwellings. Older residents owned 38% of the total housing stock in Slovenia. Every year the number of older residents living alone in dwellings is higher. In 2021, there were more than 80,000 such people or almost a fifth of all residents in this age group. Half of them lived in one- or two-dwelling buildings. In almost 70% of cases, these were women, with an average age of around 77 years.