Definition of Youth

Germany’s Social Code—Volume 8 (1991) on child and youth welfare services defines a young person as between 14 and 26 years old. The Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP) allows projects to include young persons from 12 up to 26 years of age, so does the Youth Strategy 2015-2018.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 16
  • ++
  • Female
  • 18
  • 16
  • ++

  • Civil unions/partnerships legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Source:  Youth Court Act of Germany

Majority Age


Source: Civil Code (2002)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • -- Male (15-24) %
  • -- Female (15-24) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • --Male %
  • -- Female %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: UNESCO

Situation of Young People

Prevalence of HIV

Male (15-24) %
Female (15-24) %

Tobacco Use

Consumed any smokeless or smoking tobacco product at least once 30 days prior to the survey.
Both sexes (13-15) %
  • -- Male (13-15) %
  • -- Female (13-15) %
  • Year: No data.
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Germany has developed a new federal youth policy, covering 2015-2018, which was published in July 2015. A briefing paper from 2014 introduces the guidelines.

Youth legislation is shaped first and foremost by Germany’s Social Code—Volume 8, which deals specifically with child and youth welfare services, and more recently by the 2011 Protection of Young People Act. An English overview illustrates the centrality of the social code to the youth policy system. Framed by the above legislation, youth policy is currently implemented at federal level through the Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP). Additionally, the government has recently developed a new federal framework for an independent youth policy, Acting for a youth-adequate society, launched in July 2015. In 2014, new youth policy principles and youth policy guidelines were published to guide the development process.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
At federal level, the Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth has the main responsibility for youth affairs. Its Directorate for Children and Youth has 3 departments with 12 policy and programme units. At state level, all 16 states maintain separate youth ministries, which cooperate and coordinate their work through the Conference of Ministers for Youth and Family Affairs (JMFK) and the Child and Youth Welfare Association (AGJ).

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The German Federal Youth Council (DBJR) is the country’s network of youth organisations. Its membership consists of 27 youth associations, 16 regional youth councils and 6 associated youth platforms. Internationally, youth organisations are represented by the German National committee for international youth work (DNK), a joint working group of the German Federal Youth Council (DBJR), the Council of Political Youth organisations (RPJ) and the German Sports Youth (DSJ). DNK is a member of the European Youth Forum.

Budget & Spending

What is the budget allocated to the governmental authority (ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth and/or youth programming?
EUR 386.7 million
USD 523.4 million
For the budgetary year 2013, the federal budget contained EUR 368.7 million (USD 523.4 million) specifically for measures related to child and youth policy. Of the EUR 368.7 million (USD 523.4 million), EUR 143.5 million (USD 194.4 million) are used to support children and youth organisations and their projects under the Federal Child and Youth Plan (KJP). According to the World Bank, Germany spent 10.64% of its government expenditure and 5.08% of its GDP on education provision in 2010.
Total Expenditure on Education as a Percentage of Government Spending and GDP

  • % of GDP
  • % of gov. expenditure

Source: World Bank
Gaps indicate missing data from the original data source. (Accessed May 2014).

Additional Background

Germany has just concluded a large-scale participative process to design a new federal youth policy framework for 2015-2018, released in July 2015 and entitled “Acting for a youth-adequate society." More information about the new youth policy framework is available at

In May 2014, new guidelines and principles had been published as a first outcome of a discussion process that was kicked off in 2011 with a governmental concept paper. The guidelines for a new youth policy stipulate that a new youth policy shall:
  • Refer to all adolescents and young adults;
  • Have preventive and balancing effects;
  • Promote suitable methods and structures;
  • Involve all relevant stakeholders from the start;
  • Uncover the potential of youth in and for society.
The principles of a new youth policy specify that “a new youth policy shapes the future and opens up new prospects for society” and that it must perceive the phase of youth holistically. A new youth policy should moreover:
  • Focus on the interests and needs of young people;
  • Promote sustainable youth participation;
  • Call for space and time for personal development;
  • Be designed and implemented as a common task;
  • Promote reforms of existing public policies;
  • Have a European dimension.