Sweden’s youth policy

The goal of the youth policy in Sweden is that all young people between the ages of 13 and 25 are to have good living conditions, the power to form their own lives and influence over developments in society.

Why we need youth policy

The opportunities for young people to enter into the world of adults are highly dependent on the way society is structured. Given the right conditions, young people can both form their own lives and contribute to positive societal developments. The goal of the youth policy is to ensure that all young people aged between 13 and 25 have good living conditions, the power to form their own lives and influence over developments in society.

Youth policy is multisectoral

Youth policy is multisectoral and includes areas such as education, work, influence, health, leisure time and culture. The fact that youth policy is multisectoral means that all affected areas of activity have a joint responsibility for achieving the stated youth policy goal.

Three prioritised areas

Teenagers and young adults face a range of challenges in the transition from childhood to adulthood that society needs to take into consideration. Three areas have therefore been given special priority in Sweden’s youth policy for the period up to 2017 – young people’s influence, young people’s ability to support themselves and the mental health of young people.

Proceeding from the Convention on the Rights of the Child and a human rights perspective

Youth policy is binding on state agencies and is to serve as a guidance for municipalities and county councils. National Youth policy proceeds on the basis of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and human rights and is thus also mandatory for the municipalities. At the same time, the National Youth policy can only serve as a guidance in relation to how the municipalities choose to implement this policy. The Swedish youth policy is also linked to the ongoing EU youth policy cooperation.

A youth perspective in all public sector decisions

All public sector decisions and initiatives are to include a youth perspective. This means that young people should be viewed as a diverse group of individuals, should be given support to become independent, and should have the opportunity to participate in the decisions made in society. The youth perspective is to proceed on the basis of young people having a voice of their own (participation and influence) and knowledge about young people.

Municipal responsibility for activating young people

Chapter 2 of the Swedish Education Act assigns the municipalities an activation responsibility in relation to young people who are under 20 years of age, who have completed compulsory schooling but who are not attending upper secondary school. This means that the municipality is required to provide appropriate individual measures that are first and foremost intended to motivate the young person to enter education. The municipalities are also required to maintain a register of the young people covered by this responsibility and to document their measures in an appropriate way.

This is what we do

We work to produce and disseminate knowledge on conditions affecting young people and on youth policy and its goals. We emphasise the importance of the fact that all public sector activity should proceed on the basis of a youth perspective. We work together with other agencies, among other things by participating in a public sector agency network focused on issues affecting children and young people.

We support the municipalities’ work with their local youth policy by means of the LUPP youth questionnaire survey, education and training measures and by supporting municipalities in learning from one another’s experiences.

We also work to ensure that municipal activities are based on a youth perspective. This means municipalities conducting regular follow-ups of young people’s living conditions and making use of information about young people as a basis for decisions and prioritisations. In addition, the municipalities should also make use of young people’s knowledge and experiences.