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As close to 2,000,000 youth gather in Cracovia for World Youth Day, it’s good to remember from where many have come, and what the world situation looks like.

Facts: Youth are a significant group in the world.

  • The number of youth between the ages of 15 and 24 is 1.1 billion; youth constitute 18 percent of the global population.
  • Youth and children together, including all those aged 24 years and younger, account for nearly 40 percent of the world’s population.
  • Geographically speaking, the largest population of youth is concentrated in Asia and the Pacific. Approximately 60 percent of youth live in Asia; 15 percent, in Africa; 10 percent, in Latin America and the Caribbean; and the remaining 15 percent, in developed countries and regions.
  • Today millions of adolescents face the prospect of early marriage, early childbearing, incomplete education and the threat of HIV and AIDS. Increasing youth’s knowledge, improving services for young people, and encouraging youth’s participation in program decisions will help all young people to lead healthier and more productive lives.

Facts: Many young people are impoverished and face difficulty accessing education and employment.

  • About 85 percent of the world’s population of youth live in developing countries. Nearly half (45.9 percent) live in low-income countries, while another third (34.1 percent) live in lower middle-income countries. The remaining fifth (20 percent) of youth live in upper middle- and high-income countries.
  • Approximately 238 million youth live in extreme poverty—that is, they live on less than $1 a day; 462 million youth survive on less than $2 a day.
  • About 255 million young people live in the 19 countries with the largest poverty gaps; 15 of these 19 countries are in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Experts estimate that, in the 49 countries classified as having a high proportion of undernourished people, 110 million youth live in hunger.
  • About 133 million youth in the world are illiterate.
  • Youth comprise 41 percent of the world’s unemployed people.

Read more in the U.N. report, “Youth and the State of the World.


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