If the traditional dynamics of social exclusion were characterized by consistency and duration, to be analyzed from a micro perspective, the today’s dynamics are inextricably linked to phenomena at the macro level. The aim of this paper is to highlight the relevance of the dynamics related to the characteristics of a specifi c territorial system. Indeed, the paper provides an ecological analysis of the NEET phenomenon, i.e. a specifi c and particularly worrying form of exclusion, which is closely associated with the risk that the effects on youth of a prolonged economic crisis could take root, thereby becoming a structural problem that is more diffi cult to tackle. By means of a survey carried out according to the CATI method on a representative sample of NEETs registered at the Job Center of Massa Carrara, the study compared the characteristics of these NEETs, from both a quantitative and qualitative point of view, with those of the average Italian NEET, highlighting trends and specifi c processes peculiar to a worldwide phenomenon. The obtained results may very well qualify in order to review the setup of certain public programs dedicated to combating this phenomenon that, on the contrary, remain anchored to the micro perspective.