Education and Labour Market Transitions in Young Adulthood

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by Danielle Shaienks and Tomasz Gluszynski


Young adulthood is filled with major life events and pursuing higher education is one of the most common transitions.  It is also the time when many young adults enter the labour market, move out of their parents' household and begin family formation.  These significant events affect each other and impact the rest of their lives.

Given the significance of these life events and their potential long lasting effects, it is important to try to understand these transitions.  However, given their complexities and intertwining nature, studying them requires unique sets of data, such as the Youth in Transition Survey (YITS). This data is longitudinal, where the same set of respondents is interviewed at set time intervals. As such, the YITS data base is ideal for studying life transitions through time.

This report presents results from the five cycles of YITS.  Descriptive in nature, this report looks at education, early labour market outcomes and family formation of these young adults.   The report is structured in the following way.  First, educational pathways are explored.  Second, early transitions into the labour market are analyzed.  Third, transitions associated with family formation are discussed.  Finally, the report provides a summary of some key findings.

The Youth in Transition Survey

The Youth in Transition Survey started in 2000 when the participants between 18 and 20 years of age were interviewed for the first time.  Subsequently they were interviewed four more times – every two years.

Data in this report reflects the situation of the young adults at the end of each reference period, i.e. December 1999, when they were 18 to 20 years old, December 2001 when they were 20 to 22 years old, etc.  The last data collection occurred in 2008 when the respondents reached the ages of 26 to 28.

Additional information about the survey is presented in Appendix 1.