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Gobal Engaged Youth
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HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa
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World Population Data

Every year, Population Reference Bureau (PRB) provides the latest demographic data for the world, global regions, and more than 200 countries and territories. This year we focus on the state of the world's youth—the 16 percent of the global population between 15 and 24 years old. Explore data and graphical features that illustrate the extent to which youth are poised to become productive adults.

"NEET" Rates Show Youth Development
Challenges, Especially for Young women

The NEET indicator (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) measures the percentage of youth—typically ages 15 to 24—who are not in the education system, not working, and not in work training. They are missing out on chances to develop their potential in adulthood.

Except for most high-income countries, NEET rates generally are much higher for young women than young men. Young women often have less access to jobs, education, and training, and are more likely to be fully engaged in nonlabor-market activities, such as caregiving and household work. Middle-income countries, especially the lower middle-income countries, have the highest NEET rates and the largest gender disparities. Many low-income countries do not have data on NEET, but when they do, the rates are generally low since many youth are engaged in low productivity, informal agricultural or urban livelihood activities. Given rapidly growing youth populations in low-income countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, NEET rates are likely to rise unless investments are made in more educational and job opportunities for youth.

In the United States, Racial/Ethnic
Disparities Persist as Youth Rebound
From Great Recession

Before the Great Recession in 2007, one in 10 non-Hispanic white youth ages 16 to 24 were not enrolled in school or working, while this share among minority youth was higher—ranging from one in six to one in four. By 2010, the share of youth not in school or working had risen among every racial/ethnic group except Hispanic females, where it decreased slightly. By 2015, the share of youth who were not attending school or working had returned to or dropped below prerecession levels for all gender and racial/ethnic groups except non-Hispanic white males. Even so, sizeable gaps remain between white and minority youth—particularly black males, where more than one-fifth were still not in school or working in 2015.

More Progress Needed in Meeting
Young Married Women’s Family
Planning Needs With Modern Methods

Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality calls for empowering women to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. Over the last two decades, increasing numbers of married women ages 15 to 24 in many low- and middle-income countries have met their family planning needs to delay or limit childbearing with modern methods of contraception. But challenges and barriers unique to younger women slow progress in several countries. Age-restrictive policies, social pressures, and provider bias limit knowledge about available options and access to appropriate methods, leading to higher rates of contraceptive failure and discontinuation after short periods. Addressing these barriers will improve maternal and child health, increase educational attainment, and improve economic opportunities for young women.

HIV Continues to Affect Young Women
Disproportionately in Sub-Saharan Africa

HIV/AIDS continues to affect many youth in sub-Saharan Africa—especially young women—despite progress in prevention, testing, and treatment. An estimated 250,000 youth ages 15 to 19 were newly infected with HIV worldwide in 2015, with two out of three living in sub-Saharan Africa. Young women accounted for two-thirds of newly infected youth globally and three-quarters in sub-Saharan Africa. Young women are more vulnerable to HIV/AIDS because of gender-based violence and less access than young men to secondary school and economic opportunities. These factors hinder young women’s ability to negotiate safe sexual practices and to access services for prevention and treatment. Empowering young women through education and employment, and countering gender-based violence, are essential for prevention and early treatment.

Youth Worldwide Face Growing Risk From
Noncommunicable Diseases

Tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, lack of exercise, and unhealthy dietary habits typically take root in adolescence or young adulthood and are key risk factors for developing the main noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) later in life—notably, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung diseases, diabetes, and cancers. NCDs are a growing problem in every region of the world; the four risk behaviors are already at high levels or are increasing among youth, including in many low- and middle-income countries. School-based education and behavioral change programs are lowering tobacco and alcohol use in some settings. Policy interventions, such as taxation and advertising bans for tobacco products, have also been positive. Addressing youth risk behaviors is key to curbing a growing NCD epidemic in low- and middle-income countries and supporting youth to become healthy adults who contribute to sustainable development of their countries.

Youth Access to Computers, Internet
Varies Widely by Country

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the critical importance of developing skills in the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) for youth so they can compete in the increasingly digital global economy. ICTs can play a catalytic role in education, as reflected in the inclusion of SDG measures focused on computer and internet availability in schools. Beyond schools, youth access to computers and the internet is widespread in more-developed countries but varies widely among less-developed countries, with the lowest rates in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Increasing use of smartphones in these regions will boost internet access rates. In sub-Saharan Africa, smartphone use as a share of total mobile phone use will jump to 55 percent by 2020 from 28 percent in 2016.


Data updated on August 15, 2017.



The Data Sheet lists all geopolitical entities with populations of 150,000 or more and all members of the UN, including sovereign states, dependencies, overseas departments, and some territories whose status or boundaries may be undetermined or in dispute. More developed regions, following the UN classification, comprise all of Europe and North America, plus Australia, Japan, and New Zealand. All other regions and countries are classified as less developed. The least developed  countries consist of 47 countries with especially low incomes, high economic vulnerability, and poor human development indicators. The criteria and list of countries, as defined by the UN, can be found at

World and Regional Totals: Regional population totals are independently rounded and include small countries or areas not shown. Regional and world rates and percentages are weighted averages of countries for which data are available. Regional averages are shown when data or estimates are available for at least three-quarters of the region’s population.

World Population Data Sheets from different years should not be used as a time series. Fluctuations in values from year to year often reflect revisions based on new data or estimates rather than actual changes in levels.

Country-specific notes include:

  • SAR stands for Special Administrative Region.
  • Kosovo declared independence from Serbia on Feb. 17, 2008. Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s independence.
  • Macedonia is part of the former Yugoslav Republic.
  • (—) Indicates data unavailable or inapplicable.

    A date range indicates the most recent data point during that time period.


    The rates and figures are primarily compiled from the following sources: national statistical offices’ official websites, online databases, statistical yearbooks, and bulletins from various countries; demographic surveys such as the Demographic and Health Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, and Performance and Monitoring Accountability (PMA) 2020 Surveys; the UN Demographic Yearbook 2015 and Population and Vital Statistics Report of the UN Statistics Division; World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision, World Contraceptive Use 2016, and World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision of the UN Population Division; the International Data Base of the International Programs Center, U.S. Census Bureau; World Development Indicators online database of the World Bank; AIDSinfo online database of the UNAIDS; FAOSTAT online database of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations; and UIS.Stat online database of the UNESCO Institute for Statistics. The sources also include direct communication with demographers and country experts from around the world. Specific data sources may be obtained by contacting the authors of the 2017 World Population Data Sheet. For countries with complete registration of births and deaths, rates are those most recently reported. For more developed countries, nearly all vital rates refer to 2016 or 2015.


    This publication is funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development (PACE Project, No. AID-0AA-A-16-00002), and supporters. The contents are the responsibility of the Population Reference Bureau and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States government.


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    Genevieve Dupuis, Research Associate, PRB
    Peter Goldstein, Vice President of Communications, PRB
    Linda A. Jacobsen, Vice President, U.S. Programs, PRB
    Toshiko Kaneda, Senior Research Associate, PRB
    Barbara Seligman, Vice President, International Programs, PRB
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