Social inclusion is about feeling you are part of a community, bonded together by a common identity and shared values.
Poverty is one of the main reasons that people can feel excluded. Not having access to health and social services or job opportunities, can also contribute to social exclusion.
You may feel you don’t belong no matter how well educated or financially well-off you are. Social exclusion doesn’t just affect people who are materially deprived. Approximately 1 out of every 3 people in the European and Central Asia region is socially excluded.
Young people and social inclusion
Young people are among the most vulnerable in society, particularly during a serious economic downturn. 1 in 5 children (up to 17 years) live in families that are at risk of poverty, and more than one third of young adults (18 and 24) in the EU are currently unemployed - not in education, employment or training.
Where you live plays a role too. People in rural areas are almost four times more likely to suffer from social exclusion than those in towns or cities.
What can you do?
The EU Strategy on Youth and the Youth in Action Programme both deal with social inclusion – and provide many opportunities for young people to learn and participate across the EU.
You can also get involved in the EU Structured Dialogue, or look at what other young people had to say at the 2012 Youth Conference in Cyprus.