Generación Ni-Ni

Definition: in general, people who neither work nor go to school (the meaning differs from country to country).

Breaking news: more and more can be read about young adults who belong to the above group of people. As the global economic crisis bites deeper, there is a whole generation of young adults who face no bright future.

Data: Although the majority of these young people is unemployed, some of them are not looking for work seriously because they are discouraged or because there is no work anyway. A reaction spread above all in the south of Europe. In Spain, according to a recent metroscopie survey published in El País for the media debut of the Generación ni-ni, some of 54 per cent of young people in the 18-35 age group state that they have no plan onto which to project their interests or ambitions.


Katja Pfusch (Linguistic Coordinator – Terminology Coordination Service) contributed with this term to the September edition of our Terms in the News. Compound name: Generación ‘ni-ni’. It appeared in an italian newspaper and was translated as “generazione né-né”. The original Spanish expression summarizes the situation of the young generation disappointment and disengagement. Ni estudia ni trabaja means “neither studies nor works”. The Neither-Nor Generation of 700,000 “Convinced Inactive” young adults in Europe and America. The expression can also be found in its German version as “Die Weder-noch-Generation” Links:…/mangiarotti_rapporto_gioventu_e39551a0-71ca-11de-87a4-00144f02aabc.shtml

Rodolfo Maslias (Head of the Terminology Coordination Service). In a blog about Argentina a contributor says, “There is a group of young adults, ages ranging from fifteen to twenty four, who are dubbed “Generation Ni-Ni.” This generation of people “neither works nor goes to school.” Of the 760,000 people associated with Generation Ni-Ni, seventy three percent are female. Some women drop out of school to take care of younger siblings while their parents work, but most drop out due to pregnancies”. In Greek the most suitable equivalent is the “generation of 700 €”, which refers to an average salary young people get nowadays.

Jan Suchomel (Terminology Coordination Service). Another expression “a zero generation – zero jobs, zero prospects” has appeared recently.

Georgia Kathiotou (Terminology Coordination service). It seems that the “ni-ni” definition has also reached the Greek language by adapting it to its “strange” round vocals, of course. So, our version is: “Η γενιά του “ούτε-ούτε”. I have extracted the term from an article in a big greek newspaper (TA NEA) about the situation of the young people in Spain… so they have actually translated 1:1 the “Generatión Ni-Ni” into Greek. Fortunately, Spain and Greece share similar mentality which is reflected into their languages, too! Apart from the above mentioned definition, we also use the “G700 – Η γενιά των 700 ευρώ” (quotation: “Generation 700€ is the silent majority of young Greeks, aged between 25 and 35, who are overworked, underpaid, debt ridden and insecure”). This version better reflects the modern Greek society.

Jennifer Hiller (Terminology coordination service). I would say that this term is not widely used in German. When used in this context (talking about Spain etc.), it is literally translated: “weder-noch-Generation”. However, “weder-noch-Generation” is used more often in the context of bilinguals, e. g. for Franco-Swiss people and how they switch between languages while talking (”code-switching”), or in the respective social context (people torn between two nationalities/cultures).

Anita Rademakers (Terminology coordination service). There is no Dutch equivalent for the term ‘generación ni-ni’. One of the correspondents of NOS, however (the Dutch national broadcasting association) wrote a blog post about the phenomenon in Spain. The post is called Geen werk, geen studie (No job, no studies) and ends with the question if the ‘ni-ni generatie’ will be able to sort things out in the end. And interesting mixture of Spanish and Dutch. Link:

Diana Edwards (Irish and English Translation Unit). To quote from the Wikipedia entry on this subject (which also contains useful references to official publications and press reports): ‘NEET is an acronym for the government classification for people currently “Not in Employment, Education or Training”. It was first used in the United Kingdom but its use has spread to other countries, including Japan, China and South Korea. In the United Kingdom, the classification comprises people aged between 16 and 24 (some 16 year olds are still of compulsory school age). In Japan, the classification comprises people aged between 15 and 34 who are unemployed, unmarried, not enrolled in school or engaged in housework, and not seeking work or the technical training needed for work. The ‘NEET group’ is not a uniform set of individuals but consists of those who will be NEET for a short time while essentially testing out a variety of opportunities and those who have major and often multiple issues and are at long term risk of remaining disengaged’.

J. A. Mesquita (Trad. PT-PE-LUX). I have found the expression “geração nem-nem” (which is the obvious, literal translation for the original Spanish term) in a Brazilian site (link below), but I couldn’t find any reliable example in the press. On the other hand, I found the expression “geração NEET” (refering to Japan), but also only in blogs. Link:

What is it called in the News in your country?

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