Skip to content

Young adulthood (20-24 years)

Leicester Children's Joint Strategic Needs Assessment (JSNA). Health and social care needs associated with the transition to young adulthood (20 to 24 years).

The transition from adolescence to young adulthood is a time of major changes for most young people. Unlike the childhood transitions described in other chapters of this JSNA, the transition to adulthood for many will include a move away from family and friends. A successful transition to young adulthood forms a foundation for young adults in their future stages of development and transitions. Young adults who are less likely to make this transition well are those who are not in employment education or training, those with special educational needs and those suffering a mental illness.

For public services, young adulthood is the ‘last’ opportunity to help young people secure a stable foundation for their future lives. Late adolescence and young adulthood transition’s significance is reflected in the Children and Families Act 2014, the Care Act 2014, and in ‘Special educational needs and disability code of practice: 0 to 25 years’. This guidance is designed to ensure that when young people reach the legal age of adulthood at 18 they do not fall through gaps in the health and education system.

Population Profile

In 2015 there were an estimated 37,943 people aged 20-24 years living in Leicester. Of these, 49% were male and 51% female. This age group made up approximately 11% of the total population, making them the single largest age group and helping to define Leicester as a “young” city.

Who’s at risk and why?

In addition to the risks that apply across all age-groups, some young people face specific new risks at this point:

  • Lifestyle Choices
  • The transition to Adulthood & adult services
  • Looked after children and care leavers

The level of need in the population


Adolescents’ transition from school/college to university and/or the workforce during the early adult years, and disadvantaged children may find the transitions more difficult.

As life expectancy is based on early child development, education, employment, living wage, environmental factors and lifestyle factors (for example smoking, diet, and activity), whether or not you are employed or training during ages 20 to 24 years are key factors to your long term health.

Out of Work Benefits

Over the past three years the proportion of young people claiming out of work benefits has fallen and in 2016 stabilised at just under 2% in Leicester.

Learning Disabilities

Young adults with learning disabilities are particularly vulnerable during this transition to adulthood. In Leicester there is a lack of detailed and easily accessible data on the health needs of 20 to 24 year olds with learning disabilities and Special Educational Needs (SEND). A more detailed specific needs assessment is needed for this population of vulnerable young adults.

Over the next 15 years the numbers of young adults with learning disabilities is expected to grow in Leicester.


There has been a significant decline in the levels of official statutory youth homelessness as measured by the number of young people owed the rehousing duty by local authorities. However, there is also a wider group of young people are living on sofas or spare rooms of their friends and family. The impact of the removal of automatic Housing Benefit from April 2017 for 18 to 21 year olds and any impact on homelessness levels will need to be reviewed.


The Leicester Health and Well-being Survey 2015 provides a summary of the self-reported health and well-being of adults living in Leicester. The survey found that 89% of 20 to 24 year olds feel their health is ‘good’ compared to 71% of all adults aged 16+ years. This age group is more likely to want to eat healthily and exercise compared to other age groups. However, they are also more likely to not have visited a dentist in the last 12 months.


According to the Health and Well-being Survey, approximately 70% of 16 to 24 year olds reported they have never smoked a cigarette or e-cigarette.

Substance Misuse

In Leicester, those who report they have misused drugs and alcohol are more likely to be male, white and aged 16 to 24 years. There is a correlation between age and drug-related criminal offending in Leicester, with a far greater prevalence in the age range 16-24 years than across other age groups.

Projected service use

Based on population projections, this age group will remain relatively constant in its size. Work is needed to have a better understanding of how those within this age group transition from child to adult services


Recommendations based on the findings of this JSNA.

Relevant Links