Denmark’s youth: invisible and impecunious

People aged 18-25 are far worse off than they were 16 years ago, both in terms of their annual income and net worth

Young people between the ages of 18 and 25 had a lower average income in 2014 compared to 2000 – the only age group amongst adults in Denmark to experience a fall according to Danmarks Statistik figures reported by Metroxpress.

Broken down, 18-year-olds saw their income tumble by 13.8 percent, 18-year-olds by 9.2 percent, 23-year-olds by 6.3 percent, and 25-year-olds by 2.9 percent. Only by the age of 26, did they reach parity with a 0.5 percent rise.

And from then on, the difference steadily rose until the retirement age, with people aged 30 earning 8.9 percent more, 35-year-olds (17.9), 40 (26.3), 50 (28.4), 60 (30.9) and 70 (29.5).

On average, Danes earned 20 percent more than in 2000.

Net income now a loss
The figures also revealed a huge fall in the net worth of people under the age of 40. Back in 1997, the average was a net worth of 33,000 kroner, but by 2014, that figure was a 40,000 loss. In contrast, people over the age of 60 have seen their total worth increase by an average 200,000 kroner.

Besides obvious factors, such as the rise in house prices and inflation, experts attributed the development to a 12 percent increase in students and the kontanthjælpsreformen of 2013, which decreased benefits payments for the under-30s.

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Invisible youth
Johannes Andersen, an associate professor at Aalborg University, told Metroxpress that some young people risk getting left behind.

“They are the invisible youth,” he said.

“They are a growing group who neither study, work nor receive benefits. It is especially girls in remote areas who live with their parents and don’t even leave the house because they lack the skills and confidence.”

According to Jonas Schytz Juul from labour organisation Arbejderbevægelsens Erhvervsråd, they need help.

“They are the ones we need to focus on,” he told Metroxpress.

“Without training they have a hard time getting a foothold into the labour market and could therefore have a low income for the rest of their working life.”