Definition of Youth

According to the youth development law (1993), young people are defined as between 14-35 years. According to the 2013 review, this mirrors European trends.


Marriageable Age

  • Opposite Sex
  • Same Sex
  • Without parental consent
  • with parental consent
  • Male
  • 18
  • 15
  • --
  • Female
  • 16
  • 15
  • --

  • Marriage without parental consent is possible at 16 for women upon agreement of a court. No specific legislation for same sex marriage. Homosexual acts legal. Source: UNSD, ILGA

Candidacy Age

Criminal Responsibility

Minimum Age
Between 14-16, children are only criminally liable for specific crimes, including murder, rape, and bodily harm. Source:  Criminal Code of Ukraine

Majority Age



Voting Age


Situation of Young People

Literacy Rates

Both sexes (15-24) %
  • 99.72% Male (15-24) %
  • 99.81% Female (15-24) %

Net Enrolment Rate

Secondary School
Both sexes %
  • 85.49%Male %
  • 85.82% 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) %
  • 29.80% Male (13-15) %
  • 22.20% Female (13-15) %
  • Year: 2010
  • Source: WHO

Policy & Legislation

Is there a national youth policy?
Ukraine has a 2013 youth policy strategy and a youth development law (1993). Reviews: 2010, 2011 & 2013.

The youth development law (1993) outlines the parameters for the implementation of youth policy and includes key organisational, socio-economic, legal and political principles for the socialisation of young citizens of Ukraine. The 2013 youth policy strategy, adopted by decree of the Ukrainian President, states that its main purpose is to put in place an enabling environment for the ‘intellectual, moral and physical’ development of youth, for ensuring its participation in the development and implementation of youth policy from national through local levels, and to increase the labour market competitiveness of Ukrainian young people. The priorities of the strategy are: affordable education, healthy lifestyles, employment, housing, participation and access to European programmes.

Public Institutions

Is there a governmental authority
(ministry, department or office) that is primarily responsible for youth?
Responsibility for youth policy currently rests with the Ministry of Youth and Sports. According to Decree 390 of the President of Ukraine of 2013 its youth specific tasks include the development of measures to promote healthy lifestyles, youth employment, conditions for the intellectual and creative self-development of youth, social development of children and youth, humanistic values ​​and patriotism among young people. Further, it is responsible for state support to youth and children's associations, and for promoting volunteering.

Youth and Representation

Does the country have a national youth organisation / association (council, platform, body)?
The Ukrainian Youth Forum established in 1995 is a member of the European Youth Forum. According to its Facebook page, it exists as a platform for representing the interests of Ukrainian youth through youth and children’s organisations to national authorities and internationally. According to the 2013 Council of Europe Review of youth policy, the UYF included 16 all-Ukraine children’s and youth organisations and is active in healthy lifestyles, technology, innovation, business development, ecology and democratic development of the state.

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?
No documentation on the budget for youth in Ukraine could be found online. According to the World Bank, Ukraine spent 13.48% of its government expenditure and 6.11% of its GDP on education provision in 2011.
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

According to the BBC Profile on Ukraine, reporting on the crisis the country is experiencing since the beginning of 2014:
Ukraine gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since veered between seeking closer integration with Western Europe and reconciliation with Russia, which supplies most of the country's energy.
Europe's second largest country, Ukraine is a land of wide, fertile agricultural plains, with large pockets of heavy industry in the east.
While Ukraine and Russia share common historical origins, the west of the country has closer ties with its European neighbours, particularly Poland, and Ukrainian nationalist sentiment is strongest there.
A significant minority of the population of Ukraine use Russian as their first language, particularly in the industrialised east. In Crimea, an autonomous republic on the Black Sea that was part of Russia until 1954, ethnic Russians make up about 60% of the population.
Russia once again seized and annexed Crimea in March 2014, amid the chaos following the fall of President Viktor Yanukovych, plunging European into its worst diplomatic crisis since the Cold War. […]
According to IBI Times, young people are disenchanted with the way the country has been governed since the Orange Revolution:
Ovchrova, a journalism student now studying at the Unversity of Warsaw, said […] without resignation of the government, and of course Yanukovich, we can't move forward in developing the country." Ovchrova sees the current unrest as a "second revolution" after the Orange revolution in 2004 and 2005. […] She added: "After the disaster of the Orange revolution, young Ukrainians just want a chance for a normal life. We are tired of disappointment, disillusionment and disenchantment." […]
For young Ukrainians, the future of the country balances on the wider strategic battle between Russia and the West. For many, the EU offers modernity and transparency – a break from Russia's control and the country's stifled past. […]
The protests mark a push-and-pull between a country based on law, or a Russian-style oligarchy. However, it will take more than the opposition and Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the leader of the Fatherland Party, to resolve the problem. According to Lana Ovchrova […] the answer is not that simple. […]
According to DNA India, young people in Ukraine and Russia want an end to the crisis and a peaceful resolution to both the internal political crisis and to Ukraine’s relations with Russia:
Olesya, a 19-year-old student from Irkutsk, Russia, seems to be rather weary of the ongoing dispute. She says, “I don't want a war. The most important thing, I think, is the safety of people who are under the authority. I don't know, I just hope that this situation will end soon." […]
Ekaterina, a Ukrainian student, says, “Russia and Mr Putin have it going all wrong as they decided to break the sovereignty of a unitary country. I feel that people in Crimea don't understand what they are putting themselves into. Russia especially should have stayed away, considering the fact that Crimea was no longer a part of their rule after the Soviet split.” […]
The European Youth Forum, of which the National Youth Council of Ukraine, the Ukrainian Youth Forum, is a member, adopted a resolution on the situation in Ukraine at its Council of Members on 26 April 2014:
With deep concerns young people all over Europe are following the developments in Ukraine. As the situation in the region remains critical, the European Youth Forum and its Member Organisations continue to strongly condemn the use of violence. Young people have been at the forefront of promoting peaceful dialogue. We stand by youth organisations in the crisis region in this difficult time and we urge them to continue to promote peace and dialogue. No young person should be victimised by a political situation as we are seeing at present.
We want European institutions to stand up for the rights of young citizens. We call for measures to be implemented to protect youth rights, in particular those referring to access to education, information, welfare, protection, but also self-organising and freedom of movement. We believe that international cooperation must be enhanced, including the fostering of exchanges between young people.
Therefore, we encourage the European Union and the Council of Europe to ensure that a window is opened to young people in Ukraine, which is currently experiencing militarized conflict on its territory, and that priority is given to ensure space for youth participation and inclusion, youngsters' possibility to build democratic structures in all areas affected and beyond. We call for the immediate opening of the mechanism for initiating projects on youth in the current Erasmus+ programme for Eastern partnership countries.
The Council of Members of the European Youth Forum calls the Forum to rapidly implement, together with all relevant actors, a sustainable action plan for the work in the Eastern Europe and Caucasus (EEC) Region. This plan should include concrete measures of peace, capacity-building, promoting youth work, establishing new cooperation, and increasing awareness for the different situations and needs of young people in all European regions.
We believe in our common values of solidarity, peace, respect and a mutual intercultural understanding. Therefore we urge all parties involved, especially the political decision-makers, to continue to seek peaceful solutions and to respect national sovereignty, civil and political as well as economic, social and cultural human rights. […]