Unemployment and underemployment data

This report aims to identify the number of under and unemployed youth in DFID focus countries


This Helpdesk report was written to identify the number (absolute and as a proportion of the working age population) of under and unemployed youth in the Department for International Development’s focus countries, disaggregated by gender and social/economic status and all countries in Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia and what are the projected changes in these demographics over the next 20 years?

Also, what are the limitations to the reliability of these data, both generally and limitations with respect to any specific country data? Underemployment data were only available for Ethiopia, Bangladesh, India, Liberia, Malawi, Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, and Uganda. Of these Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania have the highest rates (18.3, 13.1, and 10.3 respectively) (Table 7, p9). India, Ethiopia, and Tanzania have the highest absolute numbers of underemployed youth (8,603,000; 2,148,100; and 1,234,900 respectively). Ethiopia, Tanzania, India, Bangladesh and Liberia all have notably higher male underemployment rates than female. Rural unemployment rates are higher than urban rates in all countries where data were available except Liberia where the urban unemployment rate was slightly higher than the rural rate.

K4D helpdesk reports provide summaries of current research, evidence and lessons learned. This report was commissioned by the UK Department for International Development


Bolton, L. (2016) Unemplopment and underemployment data. K4D Helpdesk Research Report. Brighton, UK: Institute of Development Studies.

Unemployment and underemployment data

Published 23 November 2016