France’s youth strategy is embodied in the cross-cutting Youth Policy Plan (2022). The plan has five main axes that promote: the personal development of young people; education, guidance and training; employment and professional integration; the fight against inequalities in the path to autonomy; improving living conditions.

Published on October 4, 2023
Updated on February 20, 2024

Definition of youth

According to the EU Youth Wiki, there is no official or quantified definition of "youth" in France, but the 16 to 25 age bracket is most commonly used by public authorities. However, the Youth Policy Plan (2022) addresses young people aged 3 to 30, with a focus on those aged 6 to 25.

Definition 1
3 - 30 years

Source: Youth Policy Plan 2022

Definition 2

Voting Rights

Majority age
18 years
Voting age
18 years
Criminal responsibility
15 years

Candidacy age

Lower House
18 years
Upper House
24 years
--- (tbc)

Marriage & Gender

Without parental consent
18 years
18 years
With parental consent
18 years
18 years


Is same-sex marriage legalized?


Are other genders recognised?
no compulsory medical diagnosis

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?

France's youth strategy is embodied in the cross-cutting Youth Policy Plan (2022). ((link to PDF in YPL library when uploaded)) The plan has five main axes that promote:

  • The personal development of young people;
  • Education, guidance and training;
  • Employment and professional integration;
  • The fight against inequalities in the path to autonomy;
  • Improving living conditions.

Moreover, as part of the government's COVID-19 recovery strategy, the "1 Youth, 1 Solution" plan was released in 2020, aiming to mitigate youth unemployment.

According to the EU Youth Wiki, the goal of public youth policies in France is to foster a society based on mutual trust, ensuring "society's trust in its young people and young people's trust in society".

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority that is primarily responsible for youth?

The Ministry of National Education and Youth is mainly responsible for youth policy, although according to the EU Youth Wiki, youth policy is largely an interministerial issue in France. The Directorate of Youth, Popular Education and Associative Life (DJEPVA) is an administrative unit of the Ministry which plays a leading role in the development and implementation of the national youth policy. The DJEPVA creates and supervises youth policy and provides financial support to youth and education associations. The National Institute of Youth and Popular Education (INJEP), established by Decree No. 2015-1771 (2015), is attached to the Director of DJEPVA and conducts research and produces statistical data. In addition, the Youth Policy Orientation Council (COJ), an administrative advisory commission, reports directly to the Prime Minister and contributes to the coordination and evaluation of public policies impacting young people.

Youth & Representation

Does the country have a national youth organization or association?

According to the Country Sheet on Youth Policy in France (2020) published by the European Commission and the Council of Europe, there is no "national council" for youth, but rather several bodies that represent the interests of young people. However, the Committee for National and International Relations of Youth and Popular Education Associations (CNAJEP) is named as France's National Youth Council by the European Youth Forum, where it is a full member. CNAJEP is comprised of more than 70 national youth and non-formal education organisations, which themselves represent more than 100,000 local organisations. It is particularly involved in issues of citizenship and youth policies at the European level.

Youth work

Is youth work a formally recognised profession?

According to the Country Sheet on Youth Work in France (2018) there is not one singular definition of "youth work" in France. However, as stated in the EU Youth Wiki, it has steadily become more institutionalised and professionalised in recent years. Youth work is generally associated with the field of socio-cultural/educational activities and has been shaped by non-formal (or "popular") education.

The Ministry of National Education and Youth, through its National Institute of Youth and Popular Education (INJEP) imposes a regulatory framework in the field of youth work, including legislative regulations, guidelines and decrees. The ministry and INJEP are responsible for laws governing trainings, diplomas, and certificates for youth workers - although, according to the EU Youth Wiki, these qualifications are not required. The Youth Wiki further outlines that the decentralised departments of the ministry, based within each region, can carry out checks at youth and children's centres at any time. INJEP also offers individuals in the field of youth work and popular education a specialised collection of more than 50,000 print and digital references.

Budget & Spending

Does the national youth policy have a dedicated budget?

The Youth Policy Plan (2022) outlines budget allocations for the full spectrum of programmes relating to youth in any regard. Because of the breadth of programmes included, the total allocation in 2022 amounts to EUR 105.8 billion (USD 108.7 billion). This figure also includes the provisions for primary, secondary and higher education.

Programme 163 "Youth and community life" of this policy plan is allocated EUR 713.1 million (USD 732.6 million) in 2022 and comprises the following actions:

  1. Development of community life;
  2. Actions in favour of youth and non-formal education;
  3. Development of civic service;
  4. Development of the Universal National Service program.

According to the 2023 Finance Bill, of the EUR 59.7 billion (USD 61.5 billion) total budget of the Ministry of National Education and Youth, EUR 58.8 billion (USD 60.6 billion) are devoted to school education, and EUR 838 million (USD 863.1 million) are earmarked for youth and community life.

Contextual Figures

Liberal Democracy Index
Youth Progress Index

Economic Indicators

GDP per capita
Human Development Index
Gini coefficient

Additional background

According to a report published on 27 September 2022 by the National Institute of Youth and Popular Education (INJEP), young French people have an increasingly positive outlook on their future. This report cites the DJEPVA Barometer on Youth 2022, a study carried out each year since 2016 by INJEP and the Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions (CRÉDOC). It found that young French people at the beginning of 2022 were generally more optimistic with regard to the future and had a significant improvement in their morale as compared to 2021. In spite of being hit hard by the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, they declared themselves more often happy (+13 points) and more determined, motivated and persevering than in 2021 (+8 points).
However, young women remain more affected by the various crises and generally have a gloomier outlook on their life and future than their male counterparts. In 2022, for example, 18% of women believe that their living conditions will improve over the next five years, as compared to 21% of young men who agree with this statement. The gap in mindset between young men and young women has been exacerbated by the pandemic. Whereas young men quickly regained their pre-Covid morale, this is not the case for young women. Not only did their positive state of mind deteriorate more markedly in 2021 (-9 points as compared to -4 points for men), but it has not yet returned to its pre-Covid level. These findings point to women’s greater vulnerability to the health crisis due to various factors, including gender inequalities and less favourable professional and financial situations.


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