Definition of Youth

Macedonia’s national youth strategy (2005) defines youth as aged between 15 and 24 years, however also notes that “in light of the consequences of the socio-economic crisis” in Macedonia, those aged 24 to 30 years should also be considered.


Marriageable Age

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

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

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Those 14-16 years may be sentenced ,"only to educational measures" and between 16-18, "to juvenile imprisonment". Source:  Criminal Code Macedonia

Majority Age


Source: Law on Misdemeanours (2006)

Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 98.74% Male (15-24) %
  • 98.48% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 78.60%Male %
  • 76.51% 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) %
  • 11.90% Male (13-15) %
  • 11.70% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Macedonia has a youth strategy and an action plan. A 2010 briefing and 2011 review have details.

The aim of Macedonia’s National Youth Strategy (2005) is to “improve the general position and satisfy the needs and interests of the young people in the country”. To this end, the strategy focuses on four “action priorities” in the areas of education, employment, quality of life and participation.

The strategy is valid for 19 years, and the Agency for Youth and Sports, as well as “youth coordination associations”, are responsible for its implementation through actions plans, such as the one created in 2009. This plan lists objectives, estimated results, indicators, timeframes and assigns responsibility to respective departments.

A “Law for the Youth” was expected for the end of 2012, however was eventually shelved after protest from local youth groups, as reported by Balkan Insight in October 2011.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
The Agency for Youth and Sports is responsible for activities relating to young people in Macedonia. As indicated in the National Youth Strategy (2005), the agency, along with representatives of youth coordination associations, is responsible for the implementation of the youth strategy. It is also mandated to form a National Management Committee with equal number of representatives from youth and relevant ministries, for the purpose of consultation and providing strategic direction on issues relating to youth.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
Two prominent national youth representation structures exist in Macedonia. The National Youth Council of Macedonia (NYCM) is a nationwide youth umbrella organisation. NYCM was established in June 2013 to promote and advocate for youth rights.

The Coalition of Youth Organizations (SEGA) is a national organisation of youth groups and NGOs. It was established in 2004 “in order to contribute to the development and implementation” of the National Youth Strategy (2005) and is co-author of the 2009 action plan alongside the Agency for Youth and Sports.

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?
MKD 17.0 million
USD 380,739
According to a 2011 youth policy review on Macedonia, the budget of the youth department within the Agency for Youth and Sports for 2009 was MKD 17.0 million (USD 380,739). More recent budget figures for the ministry could not be located. According to the World Bank, Macedonia spent 15.62 % of its government expenditure and 3.50% of its GDP on education provision in 2002.
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

From Reviews on Youth Policies and Youth Work in the Countries of South East Europe, Eastern Europe & Caucasus – The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (2011):  
The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has a territory of 25,713 km and 2050687 citizens. The Macedonian community includes several ethnic groups: Macedonian (64.2 %), Albanian (23.2 %), Turkish (3.9 %), Roma (2.7 %), Serbian (1.8 %) and several other minority ethnic groups (Vlachos, Bosnian and other). Orthodox Christianity (64.8 %) and Islam (33.3 %) are the two most prevalent religions. Youth population of 15-29 according to the official statistics is 23.56% of the total population. The country is situated in the South-Eastern part of Europe at the Balkan Peninsula. As ex-communist and as a former Yugoslav country, the development of the youth policy and youth work was influenced by all the political and socio-economical changes that happened in the beginning of the nineties in the last century. After the fall of the communism and the proclamation of the independence in 1991 the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia struggles with many difficulties that certainly made the process of building youth policy and strengthening youth work to be with its own specific development. The long process of transition especially influenced the youth as one of the most fragile social categories. [...]
The biggest problem among youth is high unemployment rates, having in mind that the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia has one of the biggest unemployment rates in Europe, which is around 32%. This number among youth of 15-29 is 70% but have in mind that high school students are also counted among those, so it is obvious that the real percentage should be rapidly smaller.
Other issues that concern youths are certainly housing, financial dependence, postponing marriage and parenthood, low degree of social mobility, as well as the lack of information and participation in different areas of interests that is probably very similar for most of the ex Yugoslav countries. Most of these issues are certainly connected to unemployment. As one of the negative effects of unemployment and general lack of opportunities is the big percentage of brain drain. The survey that was part of the baseline study on youth trends that took place in 2003 and was published in 2004 showed that 64.9% of the young intent to immigrate (unofficial results of a latest research were 46% which is important because it degreased during a 7 year-period).