Definition of Youth

The youth policy law (2003) of Lithuania defines youth as between 14-29 years.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 15
  • --
  • Female
  • 18
  • 15
  • --

  • No specific legislation for same-sex marriage. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Children 14-16 are only liable for specific crimes and under 14 years "reformative sanctions" may be applied. Source:  Criminal Code of Lithuania

Majority Age


Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.90% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.92% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 97.18%Male %
  • 96.45% Female %

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) %
  • 38.40% Male (13-15) %
  • 28.80% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Lithuania has a youth policy law and development programme. Details in a review and a briefing.

The Youth Policy Law (2003) enshrines four general provisions of youth rights:

  1. Enjoyment of all youth rights and freedoms;
  2. Equal rights and protection from discrimination;
  3. A proper social environment;
  4. All-round education.
  The National Youth Policy Development programme for 2011-2019 aims to create conditions that meet youth needs in order to become active young citizens. According to the youth policy section of the Ministry of Social Security and Labour, the programme has five focus areas: 1) Social security, education and health care; 2) Developing youth who are capable of being an active part of diverse society; 3) Systems of youth work and youth employment; 4) Fostering youth organisations; 5) Inter-institutional and cross-sectoral cooperation in developing youth policy.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Department for Youth Affairs (DYA) within the Ministry of Social Security and Labour is responsible for youth affairs, including policies, programmes, youth research and coordination of activities across state and municipal institutions. The Commission for Youth and Sport Affairs, is a parliamentary committee which analyses, scrutinises and provides advice for the implementation of the state youth policy. The Council on Youth Affairs is an advisory body under DYA on youth issues, and comprises of government and youth organisation representatives.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Lithuanian Youth Council (LiJOT) was formed in 1992 and is an umbrella organisation with 64 members representing more than 200,000 young people in Lithuania. The LiJOT,“seeks favorable changes for young people by serving as a platform for dialogue, Lithuanian youth organization interests and initiatives.”

LiJOT is a full member of the European Youth Forum and the Baltic Youth Forum. As the national agency, it coordinates EURODESK Lithuania and supports Lithuanian engagement in the EU Structured Dialogue process.

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?
The Republic of Lithuania 2014 State Budget and Municipal Budgeting Approval Law provides an overall budget of LTL 2.8 million (USD 1.1 million) for the Ministry of Social Security and Labour. The proportion specifically for youth is unknown.

A ‘special state subsidy’ of LTL 22,126 (USD 8,492) has been allocated to the Ministry of Social Security and Labour for ‘Children and Youth Rights’. According to the World Bank, Lithuania spent 13.18% of its government expenditure and 5.37% 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 August 2013).

Additional Background

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) report Opportunities for Youth and Human Development (2001) offers some background to youth policy and life for young people in Lithuania.
In Lithuania, young people have so far not been enjoying the same opportunities as their contemporaries in developed countries. Young people do not feel themselves a respected and cared-for social group. If an integrated and targeted effort by the whole of society is not made to improve the situation, Lithuania will continue to let its young people slip away through emigration, crime and drug addiction… The most important issues for Lithuanian society, according to young people, are related to economic, physical and psychological security. Young Lithuanians feel poorly integrated into society. They often feel ignored or unprepared to compete on the labour market. However, they do not show a great deal of interest in overcoming this social alienation. In 2000, more than half of young people said that they did not know about any organisations established specifically for them. Participation in NGOs, meanwhile, is on the wane… The formulation and approval of a concept on state policy for young people was the first step in addressing young people’s problems. It could be stated, however, that a comprehensive and coherent approach to youth problems has not yet been developed, and there is a lack of legislation that clearly defines the specific tools, measures and forms of support from the state in implementing youth policy. In this respect Lithuania is far behind the countries of the EU, where tackling youth problems has gained significance and a constructive response from society.
Youth Policy in Lithuania (2003) describes the use of co-management in youth policy.
One of the greatest achievements in Lithuanian youth policy so far has been the concept of ‘co-management and co-decision-making’, which is a cornerstone of the state concept on youth policy. Before the team visited Lithuania it was difficult to imagine that co-management could actually be efficient; expectations were that it was either only functioning on paper, or that youth participation was in fact not broadly based. During visits, how- ever, members of the international team were able to see for themselves co- management structures functioning at the national and regional level. There is a good understanding of the benefits of co-management among many young people and decision-makers, but the concept works less well in rural areas.
In Supporting young people in Europe – Principles, policy and practice (2002), Howard Williamson describes Lithuania’s success of adopting a co-management philosophy.
Lithuania is the only member country of the Council of Europe to have actually made the co-management philosophy of the Council the basis of its youth policy. We can find co-managed bodies at national, regional and local level, and the involvement of young people is remarkable. Of course, co-management and co- decision-making always require a mode of representation, since the system cannot work without youth organisations and national youth committees. They also require a training philosophy based on the multiplication ethos to ensure that there is constant renewal and that the system does not turn into a corporatist one. Many people consider this has been a good idea for the Council of Europe, but they would not really be prepared to use this concept in their own national context. Lithuania did adopt this concept and therefore this is in many ways a unique situation.
The Youth Policy in Lithuania (2003) notes the challenge of youth policy in a post-Soviet Union time.
Nevertheless, wherever members of the team went, and irrespective of whom the authors met, be they representatives of governmental bodies, local authorities or youth organisations, the difficulties in building new youth policies because of the legacy of communism was a recurring theme. The striking contrast between the communist system and the one Lithuania has today seems to lie in what can be described as the balance of citizens-state relationship,1 which is only now becoming fully clear. People were subject to social paternalism,due to the state’s position as elementary welfare provider. Performance was low, while social security protection was high. The connection between security and submission was both structurally and psycho- logically important; it created a specific kind of relationship between the state and the citizens, which were not solely negative.