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EACEA National Policies Platform


4. Social Inclusion

4.1 General context

Last update: 28 November 2023
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  1. Main challenges to social inclusion
  2. Definitions and concepts

Main challenges to social inclusion

The main challenge regarding the social inclusion of young people is financial in nature. The increase in disposable income among people under 30 years old has fallen behind other age groups. According to an analysis made by Arion Bank in Iceland, for the period 1990 – 2014, average disposable income overall in Iceland has increased by 41%. At the same time, the average disposable income for people aged 16-19 decreased by 17%. People aged 20-24 experienced a 13% increase in disposable income, and 25-29 experienced a 13% increase. One explanation for this is that the number of people finishing upper-secondary education and all levels of higher education (bachelor, master's, and doctoral degrees) has increased significantly, which means people in this age group are less likely to be working full time. At the same time this can also explain, in part at least, why the average disposable income has increased overall, because, with a greater number of people finishing higher education, there is a growing demand for higher salaries. 

This has an effect on many things regarding the social inclusion of young people. For instance, while the increase in housing prices has been proportional to the increase in disposable income overall, the fact that young people have fallen behind in that respect makes it harder for them to buy their first property.  As a result, many young people are staying at home longer than before.

Overall, Icelandic policies and legislation rarely, if ever, address the concept of social inclusion (i: félagsleg samsömun). However, many policies from different sectors promote social inclusion, in most cases for the population as a whole and not specifically for young people. The National Youth Council of Iceland has called for a more concise youth policy for Iceland. At the moment, policy and legislation for young people in Iceland are quite fragmented and are usually written with the wider population in mind.   


Definitions and concepts

There are no specific definitions or concepts which could potentially draw an external reader’s understanding, of the information provided here, into question.