Employment to population ratio, ages 15-24, male (%) (modeled ILO estimate)

Definition: Employment to population ratio is the proportion of a country's population that is employed. Ages 15-24 are generally considered the youth population.

Description: The map below shows how Employment to population ratio, ages 15-24, male (%) (modeled ILO estimate) varies by country. The shade of the country corresponds to the magnitude of the indicator. The darker the shade, the higher the value. The country with the highest value in the world is Equatorial Guinea, with a value of 77.40. The country with the lowest value in the world is South Africa, with a value of 14.70.

Source: International Labour Organization, Key Indicators of the Labour Market database.

See also: Country ranking, Time series comparison

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Development Relevance: Four targets were added to the UN Millennium Declaration at the 2005 World Summit High-Level Plenary Meeting of the 60th Session of the UN General Assembly. One was full and productive employment and decent work for all, which is seen as the main route for people to escape poverty. Employment to population ratio is a key measure to monitor whether a country is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger by 2015. The employment to population ratio indicates how efficiently an economy provides jobs for people who want to work. A high ratio means that a large proportion of the population is employed. But a lower employment to population ratio can be seen as a positive sign, especially for young people, if it is caused by an increase in their education.

Limitations and Exceptions: Data on employment by status are drawn from labor force surveys and household surveys, supplemented by official estimates and censuses for a small group of countries. The labor force survey is the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable employment, but there are still some limitations for comparing data across countries and over time even within a country. Information from labor force surveys is not always consistent in what is included in employment. For example, information provided by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development relates only to civilian employment, which can result in an underestimation of "employees" and "workers not classified by status," especially in countries with large armed forces. While the categories of unpaid family workers and self-employed workers, which include own account workers, would not be affected, their relative shares would be. Comparability of employment ratios across countries is affected by variations in definitions of employment and population. The biggest difference results from the age range used to define labor force activity. The population base for employment ratios can also vary. Most countries use the resident, non-institutionalized population of working age living in private households, which excludes members of the armed forces and individuals residing in mental, penal, or other types of institutions. But some countries include members of the armed forces in the population base of their employment ratio while excluding them from employment data. This indicator also has a gender bias because women who do not consider their work employment or who are not perceived as working tend to be undercounted. This bias has different effects across countries and reflects demographic, social, legal, and cultural trends and norms. Geographic coverage is another factor that can limit cross-country comparisons. The employment by status data for many Latin American countries covers urban areas only. Similarly, in some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, where limited information is available anyway, the members of producer cooperatives are usually excluded from the self-employed category. For detailed information on definitions and coverage, consult the original source.

Statistical Concept and Methodology: Employment to population ratio is the proportion of a country's population that is employed. A high ratio means that a large proportion of the population is employed. But a lower employment to population ratio can be seen as a positive sign, especially for young people, if it is caused by an increase in their education. The series is harmonized to account for differences in national data and scope of coverage, collection and tabulation methodologies as well as for other country-specific factors such as military service requirements. It includes both nationally reported and imputed data and includes only estimates that are national without any geographic limitations. National estimates are also available in the WDI database.

Aggregation method: Weighted average

Periodicity: Annual

General Comments: The employment to population ratios presented here are the ILO estimates from the ILO's Key Indicators of the Labour Market database and may differ from national estimates. The series includes both nationally reported and imputed data. These harmonized estimates use strict data selection criteria and enhanced methods to ensure comparability across countries and over time. Estimates are based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (population censuses and nationally reported estimates) used only when no survey data are available. Caution should be used when comparing ILO estimates against national estimates.