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Youth development indicators

world youth report 2005The World Youth Report 2005, Young people today, and in 2015 makes a strong argument for scaling up investments in youth development. The challenges are clear: 200 million youth live on less than US$1 a day, 130 million are illiterate, 10 million live with HIV, and 88 million young people are unemployed. While Member States and United Nations Agencies increasingly recognize the importance of investing in youth, it is very difficult to measure the success of their interventions. Programmes and policies are insufficiently monitored and many existing data are not age-disaggregated.

In 1995, the World Programme of Action for Youth (WPAY) was instrumental in setting a global agenda for young people on the basis of 10 priority areas1. In 2005, the General Assembly added five new priority areas of concern2. However, the WPAY did not provide a set of verifiable indicators that could be used to monitor the progress achieved in these priority areas.

At its sixtieth session, the General Assembly adopted a resolution (60/2) on policies and programmes involving youth, requesting that the United Nations Secretariat, in collaboration with other relevant United Nations Programmes and Agencies, establish a broad set of indicators related to youth, which Governments and other actors may choose to use to monitor the situation of young people related to the priority areas identified in the World Programme of Action for Youth.

From 12 to 14 December 2005, the Focal Point on Youth, within the Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, organized an Expert Group Meeting on Youth Development Indicators. The meeting brought together representatives of youth organizations, United Nations Agencies, and intergovernmental organizations, academia, and policy advisers to provide inputs on a draft set of indicators that could monitor and measure youth development over time.

The objective of the meeting was to define, for the fifteen priority areas identified in the WPAY, a set of suitable indicators that would:

  • Measure youth development;
  • Compare progress in and between countries;
  • Identify areas that need increased action;
  • Encourage the collection of youth-related data;
  • Enhance advocacy efforts for increased investments in youth, based on findings; and
  • Advance the possibility of developing a Youth Development Index.

At the meeting, the observation was made that there are many fields in which a large number of indicators and data are already available; however, there are also a number of priority areas in the WPAY where those indicators or data do not exist. It was proposed that all participants would provide the Secretariat with a set of proposed indicators within their area of expertise. This report is a summary of the inputs received and is subject to further consultation with experts in the United Nations System and the youth development field.

While reading the following overview of suggested indicators, one will notice the differences between the various types of indicators. Some differences include:

  • Indicators for which data are available for most/all countries versus indicators for which data are not available for all/most countries.
  • Indicators for which data are available disaggregated by sex and age versus indicators for which data are not disaggregated.
  • Qualitative versus quantitative indicators. (Where possible, preference has been given to the quantitative indicators.)
  • Indicators that measure a current situation and therefore can monitor trends over time versus indicators that use indirect techniques to make projections about the future.
  • Indicators measuring development trends specific to the youth population versus contextual indicators measuring general development trends that also (or disproportionally) influence the youth population.

Besides indicators in the fifteen areas of the WPAY, several demographic indicators are suggested.

It is important to note that to really measure the development of young people in all fifteen priority areas of the WPAY, an infinite number of indicators could be suggested that in turn could be tailored to national or local situations. In this document, a selection has been made of the quantifiable core indicators for which data are available on a global level. For some areas suggestions are made for desired indicators that could be included in the future when data become available. Finally, where applicable, reference is made to further documentation on established indicators within the UN System. 

After consultation, this list of indicators will be finalized for submission to the Member States through the Commission for Social Development in February 2007. Further, the World Youth Report 2007 will include the main findings of the indicator discussion and will contain a statistical annex listing the core indicators for which data are available.

Acknowledgements

The Programme on Youth wishes to thank all participants in the Expert Group Meeting on Youth Development Indicators held in December 2005 at UN Headquarters in New York. For a list of participants, please visit: http://social.un.org/Youth/

Follow-up inputs were received from the ILO, ITU, OECD, UNEP, UNDESA Population Division, UNICEF, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNODC, and individual experts, including Colette Daiute, City University of New York, Luis Davila Ortega, Global Youth Action Network, Carles Feixa, University of Lleida, David Gordon, University of Bristol, Roger Hart, City University of New York, Kenneth Land, Duke University, and Angela Langenkamp, German Technical Cooperation (GTZ).

Footnotes

1. Education, employment, hunger and poverty, health, environment, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, leisure-time activities, girls and young women, youth participation in decision-making.
2. Globalization, information and communication technology, HIV/Aids, youth and armed conflict, intergenerational relations.

 

Expert Group Meeting on Quantitative Indicators for the World Programme of Action for Youth, 12-13 December 2011, United Nations, New York


The meeting was convened in the context of General Assembly resolution 65/312, in which the General Assembly adopted the outcome document of their High-level Meeting on Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding, held on 25-26 July 2011. The outcome document enumerated several requests to the Secretary-General, one of which was to propose a set of possible indicators for the World Programme of Action for Youth and the proposed goals and targets, in order to assist Member States in assessing the situation of youth. 

The Meeting proposed a set of 34 core indicators and 15 supplementary indicators under the following priority areas of the WPAY: education, employment, poverty and hunger, health, drug abuse, juvenile delinquency, globalization, information and communication technologies, HIV/AIDS. The proposed indicators are included in the report of the meeting.

 

Expert Group Meeting: Working Towards a Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation of the World Programme of Action for Youth, 14-15 December 2011.

This expert group meeting aimed to put forward draft guidelines, a set of criteria, for Member States to consider when developing national monitoring and evaluation frameworks for the World Programme of Action for Youth.

 

2013 - Proposed set of Indicators for the World Programme of Action for Youth

(E/CN.5/2013/8) English | Français | Español | Русский | عربي | 汉语

 

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Peace and security are prerequisites for reaching the goals of the World Programme of Action for Youth. Protection of vulnerable young people in situations of armed conflict is an immediate concern. The past decade has seen an unprecedented increase in the involvement of young people, both as victims and as perpetrators, in armed conflict. Unfortunately, no age-disaggregated data is available, nor is there agreement on how to define a country in conflict.

Core Indicator

39. Estimated number of youth refugees by country of origin
This indicator provides insight into the number of young refugees by country of origin. As the number of refugees is currently not collected disaggregated for the youth population, an attempt could be made to measure the percentage of the youth population of the country of origin against the total refugee population of that country. As this figure assumes that the youth population is equally represented in the refugee population, it can only be viewed as an indicative, or estimated number.

Database:
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/home?page=statistics.
http://www.unhcr.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/statistics/opendoc.pdf?tbl=STATISTICS&id=43c7dc982.

Desired indicators

Suggested additional indicators, for which no data currently are available, are:

  • Existence of armed conflict in the country
  • Number of youth living in situations of armed conflict
  • Number of internally displaced youth
  • Number of child soldiers (< 18 years old)
  • Youth participation in peace-building activities

Core Indicators

25. Lifetime prevalence rates of drug abuse among youth
Lifetime prevalence of abuse (used at least once in a lifetime) is an appropriate measure, in particular regarding youth, as it indicates the potential for development of more frequent and problematic patterns of drug abuse. A large proportion of the “users” among the youth population have used an illicit drug only once or twice in their lifetime. In addition, for some drugs prevalence rates among 15-16 years old are quite low, and one may only be able to distinguish different levels of users on the lifetime measure. Lifetime prevalence is also an important measure for monitoring long-term trends.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime distinguishes between the following types of drugs:

  • cannabis
  • cocaine/crack cocaine
  • heroin
  • opium
  • ats (amphetamine/methamphetamine)
  • ecstasy
  • inhalants

Core Indicators

4. Youth literacy rates
The percentage of literate youth indicates their level of education and thereby the need for investments in education. This indicator is part of the Millennium Development Goals (indicator number 8). According to UNESCO’s 1958 definition, literacy is measured by the ability of an individual to read and write, with understanding, a simple short statement related to his/her everyday life. The data currently collected by UIS are from Household Surveys, Censuses or International Household Surveys that use a “direct question” as part of their methodology to assess literacy. The exact definition of literacy varies between countries.

Database: UIS http://www.uis.unesco.org/
Data base:
http://www.uis.unesco.org/TEMPLATE/html/Exceltables/education/Literacy_10YearAgeGrp_August2005.xls

5. Gross enrolment ratio for secondary education
The Gross Enrolment Ratio refers to the total enrolment in secondary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the theoretical school-age population in a given school-year. This indicator is widely used to show the general level of participation in secondary education. It indicates the capacity of the education system to enrol students of a particular age-group. It can be a complementary indicator to the Net Enrolment Rate by indicating the extent of over-aged and under-aged enrolment.1 The Gross Enrolment Ratio can exceed 100% due to early or late entry and/or grade repetition. The data collected by UIS for this and subsequent education indicators are reported by Ministries of Education.

6. Net enrolment rate for secondary education
The Net Enrolment Rate refers to the theoretical age-group for secondary education expressed as a percentage of the corresponding population. The purpose is to show the extent of participation in secondary education of youths belonging to the official age-group corresponding to that level of education. Net Enrolment Rates may exceed 100, due to inconsistencies between population and enrolment data. In this case the indicator is adjusted using a capping factor so that the gender parity index of the new set of values remains the same as for the original values. 2

7. Gross enrolment ratio for tertiary education
The Gross Enrolment Ratio for tertiary education is measured by the total enrolment in tertiary education, regardless of age, expressed as a percentage of the population in the official age group corresponding to tertiary education. For the tertiary level, the population used is that of the five-year age group following on from the secondary school leaving age. The Gross Enrolment Ratio can exceed 100% due to early or late entry and/or grade repetition.3

8. Transition rate to general secondary education
A transition rate measures the degree of access to a given level of education from the previous level of education. From the perspective of the level of education from which a student is leaving, it is considered as an output indicator, and from the perspective of the level of education to which a student is entering, it is an indicator of access. It can also help in assessing the relative selectivity of an education system, which can be due to pedagogical or financial requirements.

Footnotes (EDUCATION):
1. See The UNESCO Institute for Statistics glossary: http://www.uis.unesco.org/glossary
2. Ibid.
3. Ibid.

Core Indicators

9. Youth unemployment rates
The unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed in an age group divided by the labour force for that group. This indicator was selected to measure progress towards target 16 of Millennium Development Goal 8. When viewed together with the complementary indicators for employment listed below, the youth unemployment rate can serve as a useful proxy for the health of the labour market situation facing this group.

10. Ratio of youth to adult unemployment rates
This indicator provides a much more precise picture than the unemployment rate as to how youth fare in labour markets relative to adults. For example, in a country where the youth unemployment rate is high and the ratio of the youth unemployment rate to the adult unemployment rate is close to one, it may be concluded that the problem of unemployment is not specific to youth, but is country-wide. When the findings for both indicators are high, young people suffer more difficulties in finding a job than do adults.

11. Youth employment-to-population ratios
The employment-to-population ratio provides information on the ability of an economy to create employment; for many countries the indicator is often more insightful than the unemployment rate. It is strongly advised that this indicator be reviewed collectively with other labour market and related indicators. The ratio could be high for reasons that are not necessarily positive; for example, where education options are limited so that young people take up any work available rather than staying in school to build their human capital. Employment-to-population ratios are of particular interest when broken down by sex, as the ratios for men and women can provide information on gender differences in labour market activity in a given country.

12. Youth labour force participation rates
The labour force participation rate is a measure of the proportion of a country’s working-age population that engages actively in the labour market, either by working or looking for work; it provides an indication of the relative size of the supply of labour available to engage in the production of goods and services. The breakdown of the labour force by sex and age group gives a profile of the distribution of the economically active population within a country. It is instructive to look at labour force participation rates for males and females by age group. Labour force activity among the young (15 to 19 and 20 to 24 years) reflects the availability of educational facilities as well as the degree to which young workers are discouraged from joining the labour force.

Core Indicators

22. Percentage of youth severely deprived of water
One is severely deprived of water when he or she has access only to surface water (e.g. rivers, ponds) for drinking or living in households where the nearest source of water was more than 15 minutes away – 30min round trip (e.g. indicators of severe deprivation of water quality or quantity).

23. Percentage of youth severely deprived of sanitation
One is severely deprived of sanitation when he or she has no access to a toilet of any kind in the vicinity of their dwelling, e.g. no private or communal toilets or latrines.

24. Percentage of youth severely deprived of shelter
One is severely deprived of shelter when he or she is living in dwellings with 4 or more people per room (severe overcrowding), or in a house with no flooring (e.g. a mud floor).

NB: The above-mentioned three indicators are also available as deprived of (instead of severely deprived of) water, sanitation facilities or shelter, defined as:

  • Water Deprivation: access only to unimproved source such as open wells, open springs or surface water or who have to walk for more than 15 minutes to their water source (30 minutes round-trip).
  • Deprivation of Sanitation Facilities: access only to unimproved sanitation facilities e.g. : pour flush latrines; covered pit latrines; open pit latrines; and buckets or no access to a toilet of any kind.
  • Shelter Deprivation: living in dwellings with 3 or more people per room (overcrowding) or in a house with no flooring (e.g. a mud floor) or inadequate roofing (e.g. natural roofing materials)

Desired indicators

The following indicators are suggested to Governments and policy makers for incorporating into policies and programmes on youth and the environment in their countries. Currently there are no comparative data available at the international level:

  • Access to energy
  • Extent to which environmental education has been incorporated into school curricula
  • Numbers of state of the environment reports/processes by youth -- at the local, provincial and national levels
  • Establishment of environmental campaigns for youth (tree planting, afforestation, energy efficiency, youth and sustainable consumption projects, et al)
  • Development of national, sub-regional, regional and global networks and consultative mechanisms for youth to share experiences and learn more about the environment
  • Extent to which youth leaders are involved in national, regional and global environmental consultations or decision-making processes
  • Emergency habitat and Support Services for youth
  • Available public space for gathering
  • Available public space for sports and recreation.

1. Total youth population 15-24 years old
The number of young people per country is needed as a reference to the other indicators that will refer to percentages or counts per sub population.

2. Youth as a percentage of the total population
This indicator indicates the share of the total population that is comprised of youth. It can be used to determine the need for policy investments, e.g. as a comparison to the actual investments in secondary and tertiary education, health provisions, etc. It can also be used as an indication of the number of people entering the labour market.

3. Percentage of youth who are ever married
Youth is seen as the stage of life between dependence in childhood and independence in adulthood. Completing education, finding employment, living independently and starting a family form part of this stage. This indicator provides information about the family structure of young people. Comparison over time gives insight in the often-discussed current trend of delaying marriage.

Database: http://dcap016.un.org/unsd/dybnet/index.aspxData\Basic selection\B08
See also:
http://www.statcompiler.com/statcompiler/start.cfm?userid=178028&usertabid=194612&action=on&catflag=1&CFID=1157714&CFTOKEN=52035465&_#indicators or: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/indwm/ww2005/tab2a.htm

While it is needed to apply a gender-differentiated perspective and analysis to all the other fields and indicators, it is also needed to include some additional topics, such as violence and discrimination against women, for a full picture of the situation of young women. Unfortunately, these are very hard to measure, especially age-disaggregated.

Core Indicator
[NB: This indicator is in addition to gender disaggregated data included in all priorty areas]

28. Percentage of all women who have undergone female genital cutting
Female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) poses serious health risks for many girls and young women, who live mostly in Africa, but also in countries in Asia and the Middle East. Today, the number of girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation is estimated at between 100 and 140 million. It is estimated that each year a further 2 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM.7

Data:
http://www.statcompiler.com/statcompiler/table_builder.cfm?userid=178922&usertabid=195553

Desired indicators

Various indicators related to gender equality have been developed at the international level. As they are mostly not age-disaggregated, they can be considered as contextual indicators.

  • United Nations, Women's Indicators and Statistics Database, Version 4 on CD-ROM, Sales No. E.00.XVII.4, ISBN 92-1-161419-8
  • UNDESA, World’s Women 2005, Progress in Statistics:
    http://unstats.un.org/unsd/demographic/products/indwm/ww2005_pub/English/WW2005_text_complete_BW.pdf
  • UNDP, Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM). The GEM is a composite index measuring gender inequality in three basic dimensions of empowerment—economic participation and decision-making, political participation and decision-making and power over economic resources.
  • UNDP, Gender-related development index (GDI). The GDI is a composite index measuring average achievement in the three basic dimensions captured in the human development index—a long and healthy life, knowledge and a decent standard of living—adjusted to account for inequalities between men and women.

Footnote (GIRLS AND YOUNG WOMEN):
7. WHO, Female genital mutilation, Fact sheet N°241, June 2000.

Core Indicators

32. Ratio of international youth to adult migrants
The impact of globalization on young people is hard to measure. Migration is one of the consequences of globalization and it is assumed that young people are highly represented among the world’s migrants. As migration data are not readily available, it is hard to verify this assumption. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) will have data disaggregated by age available starting June 2006. This analysis will cover only migration to the OECD Member States. However, these data are considered relevant as a large proportion of international migration is to developed countries.

33. Internationally mobile students in tertiary education by host country
Young people increasingly choose to study abroad. In many parts of the world, tertiary-level students are enrolled in programmes in countries where they are not permanent residents.8 This indicator measures internationally mobile students in tertiary education for countries having more than 400 foreign students.

Data: http://stats.uis.unesco.org/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=217.

Footnote (GLOBALIZATION):
8. UNESCO Institute for Statistics Fact Sheet, Tertiary Students Abroad: Learning Without Borders. February 2005, No. 02.

Core Indicators

17. Adolescent fertility as a percentage of total fertility
Childbearing at very young ages often threatens the physical health and social well-being of both mothers and children. The greatest health risk is to women below the age of 17, but the negative social and economic effects of early childbearing affects young mothers in the 15-19 age group. An alternative formulation of this indicator would be the fertility rate of women aged 15-19 years. A drawback of that indicator is that it is not intuitively clear as to what constitutes a high rate and how it should be. Moreover, in looking at adolescent fertility as a proportion of total fertility, one is not just looking at the level of fertility, but also at the disproportionate burden of early childbearing at the national level. Fertility rates are measured by the number of life births and therefore do not include pregnancies resulting in spontaneous or induced abortions.

18. Percentage of married or in-union young women currently using modern contraception
Contraceptive use contributes to reproductive health and young persons' control over their lives. Pregnancy and childbirth during the young adolescent years can have negative consequences on the pursuit of higher education and on securing economic stability before starting a family. In terms of health, aside from the negative consequences that arise when childbearing begins at ages below 17 years, condom use among sexually active young men and women helps prevent HIV infection.

19. Maternal mortality ratio
In many developing countries, complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading causes of death among women of reproductive age. The maternal mortality ratio is a measure of the risk of death once a woman has become pregnant. While this indicator is not age-disaggregated, young people are in the child bearing age. Together with the adolescent fertility as a percentage of total fertility, this indicator provides an indication of the risk involved during pregnancy. This indicator is an indicator to goal number 5 of the Millennium Development Goals “Improve maternal health”.

20. Top 3 reported deaths by cause for youth
This indicator provides insight into the specific health risks for young people in various countries. (Details forthcoming)

21. Probability, for a 15-year old, of dying before age 25
This indicator provides information on the risk a young person has of not surviving her or his youth.

Desired indicators

A. Death by road traffic injuries
Accidents and injuries are major causes of youth morbidity, mortality and disability. According to a WHO publication (The Global Burden of Disease project, 2002), after HIV/AIDS, road traffic injuries are the second leading cause of death globally among young people aged 15 to 29. Depending on the availability of age-disaggregated data per country, this indicator could be included as a core indicator.

B. Percentage of young people using tobacco
Most people start smoking when they are young. Smoking can lead to serious health problems and early death. As it is believed that no data is collected on tobacco consumption that is globally comparable for the youth population (15-24), the indicator is not suggested as a core indicator.

The Global Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS), developed by WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available; however, this school-based survey focuses on students aged 13–15 years. Some surveys are only conducted in one or several cities. See: http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/global/gyts/GYTS_countryreports.htm

C. Percentage of young people drinking alcohol
Another risk factor often associated with being young is alcohol consumption. As it is believed that no data is collected on alcohol consumption that is globally comparable, the indicator is not suggested as a core indicator.

Core Indicators

36. HIV prevalence rate among youth
Globally, almost one fourth of those living with HIV are under the age of 25. Globally, AIDS is the leading cause of death for young people. Young people may be more likely than their elders to engage in risky behaviour, making them more susceptible to the risk of infection. Reasons range from a lack of information, peer pressure, inability to calculate risk, impaired judgement because of intoxication, inability to refuse unprotected sex and limited availability of or access to condoms. One third of women who are living with HIV are between 15 and 24 years of age. The rate of new infection is higher among young women than young men. Male-female differences reflect physiological and social vulnerability to the illness and are affected by age differences between sexual partners.9

37. Percentage of youth with comprehensive correct knowledge of HIV/AIDS
This indicator is part of the Millennium Development Goals, goal number 6, indicator 19.

Database: http://www.measuredhs.com/hivdata/data and
http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/mi_indicator_xrxx.asp?ind_code=192.

38. Percentage of youth who used a condom at last high-risk sex
This indicator is part of the Millennium Development Goals, goal number 6, indicator 19.

Database: http://www.measuredhs.com/hivdata/data and
http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/mi_indicator_xrxx.asp?ind_code=191.

Desired indicators

A. HIV prevalence among pregnant young women
This indicator is part of the Millennium Development Goals, goal number 6, indicator 18; however, no data are available. Data are available for the HIV/AIDS prevalence rate for pregnant women aged 15-24 attending antenatal care in clinics in capital cities. It is measured by the percentage of blood samples taken from women which test positive for HIV during routine sentinel surveillance at selected antenatal clinics. The data are derived from national surveillance reports and databases of census bureaus, and reflect median values of all antenatal clinics (ANC) in the cities specified.10

As no data are available, apart from data for capital cities, it is suggested not to include this indicator as a core indicator.

B. Indicator Guide
For additional indicators please review the “National AIDS Programmes: A guide to indicators for monitoring and evaluating national HIV/AIDS prevention programmes for young people”, developed by a UN interagency task force, published by the World Health Organization in 2004.

Footnotes (HIV/AIDS):
9. http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2003/english/indicators/page3.htm
10. See: http://unstats.un.org/unsd/mi/mi_series_xrxx.asp?row_id=746

Core Indicators

13. Percentage of severely underweight youth
The World Health Organisation (WHO) classifies adults into six groups on the basis of their Body Mass Index (BMI) score (see Table 1). BMI is measured as weight in kilogram’s divided by height in meters squared (kg/m2).

Body Mass Index Groups
BMI Weight Status
Under 16 Severely underweight
16-18.5 Underweight
20-25 Normal weight
25-30 Overweight
30-40 Obese
40+ Very Obese

A recent analysis that compared different causes of mortality and morbidity showed that maternal and child undernutrition is the single leading cause of health loss worldwide.4 Meta-analysis based on data sets from 25 studies that related maternal anthropometry to pregnancy outcomes showed that a pre-pregnancy BMI below 20 was associated with a significantly greater risk for intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), relative to a BMI above 24. 5

14. Percentage of underweight youth
This indicator is related to the previous one, but measures the percentage of young people that is underweight. Depending on the findings for both indicators, a decision can be made whether it is useful to include both indicators or choose the one that is most revealing.

15. Percentage of young people living in absolute poverty
The only definition of absolute poverty that has been agreed upon by the majority of the governments in the world is: "absolute poverty is a condition characterised by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services." (World Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen in 1995)

Deprivation can be conceptualised as a continuum that ranges from no deprivation to extreme deprivation, with mild, moderate and severe deprivation linking the ends of the scale.

In order to measure absolute poverty amongst youth, it is necessary to define the threshold measures of severe deprivation of the basic human needs for food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, information and access to services.

The proposed operational definitions of severe deprivation of basic human needs for youth are:

  • Severe Food Deprivation: Body Mass Index of 16 or below (severe underweight).
  • Severe Water Deprivation: access only to surface water (e.g. rivers, ponds) for drinking, or living in households where the nearest source of water was more than 15 minutes away – 30min round trip (e.g. indicators of severe deprivation of water quality or quantity).
  • Severe Deprivation of Sanitation Facilities: no access to a toilet of any kind in the vicinity of their dwelling, e.g. no private or communal toilets or latrines.
  • Severe Health Deprivation: Women who did not receive treatment for a recent serious illness or who did not receive any antenatal care or who did not receive any assistance with birth or who did not receive a tetanus inoculation during her pregnancy.
    Men who did not receive treatment for a recent serious illness.
  • Severe Shelter Deprivation: living in dwellings with 4 or more people per room (severe overcrowding) or in a house with no flooring (e.g. a mud floor).
  • Severe Education Deprivation: youth who never attended school and who are also illiterate
  • Severe Information Deprivation: no access to newspapers, radio or television or computers or phones at home (e.g. no information sources).

The absolute poverty threshold is equal to two or more severe deprivations of basic human need.

N.B.: This indicator can also be changed to, or complimented by, the “percentage of young people living in severe deprivation”, measured by the weighted number of youth with one or more severe deprivations of basic human need divided by the total youth population.

16. Percentage of young people living in poverty
The poverty threshold is equal to two or more deprivations of basic human need. The proposed operational definitions of Deprivation of Basic Human Needs for Youth are:6

  • Food Deprivation: Body Mass Index of 18.5 or below (underweight).
  • Water Deprivation: access only to unimproved source such as open wells, open springs or surface water or having to walk for more than 15 minutes to their water source (30 minutes round-trip).
  • Deprivation of Sanitation Facilities: access only to unimproved sanitation facilities e.g. : pour flush latrines; covered pit latrines; open pit latrines; and buckets or no access to a toilet of any kind.
  • Health Deprivation: Women who did not receive treatment for a recent serious illness or who did not receive the minimum standard of antenatal care from a person trained in midwifery or who do not know that a healthy person can transmit HIV/ AIDS or who do not know that using a condom during sex can prevent HIV/ AIDS transmission.
    Men who did not receive treatment for a recent serious illness or who do not know that a healthy person can transmit HIV/ AIDS or that using a condom during sex can prevent HIV/ AIDS transmission.
  • Shelter Deprivation: living in dwellings with 3 or more people per room (overcrowding) or in a house with no flooring (e.g. a mud floor) or inadequate roofing (e.g. natural roofing materials)
  • Education Deprivation: youth who did not complete primary school or who are illiterate
  • Information Deprivation: no access to a radio or television (i.e. broadcast media) at home.

N.B.: This indicator can also be changed to, or complemented by, “the percentage of young people living in deprivation”, measured by the weighted number of youth with one or more deprivations of basic human need divided by the total youth population.

Footnotes (HUNGER AND POVERTY):
4. Ezzati M, Lopez AD, Rodgers A, Vander Hoorn S, Murray CJ (2002). Comparative Risk Assessment Collaborating Group. Selected major risk factors and global and regional burden of disease. Lancet, 360, 1347-1360.
5. Blössner, M. and de Onis, M. (2005) Malnutrition: Quantifying the health impact at national and local levels. Environmental Burden of Disease Series, No. 12, Geneva, WHO. and WHO (1995). Maternal anthropometry and pregnancy outcomes – a WHO collaborative study. Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 73(Suppl.):1-98.
6. The proposed indicators described above build on the work undertaken on behalf of UNICEF and DFID to operationalize measures of deprivation and severe deprivation for children and adults.

Core Indicators

34. Proportion of young people who used a computer in the last 12 months
This indicator refers to use of computers in the previous 12 months by in-scope individuals. That use can be from any location, including work. As in many parts of the world young people use the computer frequently, a better indicator could be on usage per week or month; unfortunately, these data are not available.

35. Proportion of young people who used the Internet in the last 12 months
This indicator refers to the activities undertaken on the Internet by in-scope individuals in the previous 12 months, from any location including work. In the future, it is expected that comparable data are available on the location young people use the Internet from and on the kind of activities undertaken by young people on the Internet.

See also: http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/statistics/images/temp/index.html.

Desired indicators

Various UN Agencies and Programmes and the OECD, working together in the Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development, have developed a core list of ICT indicators that could be collected by all countries and serve as a basis for internationally comparable statistics on the information society. The idea is to set standards and harmonize ICT statistics at the global level. The proposed indicators are not all measured at the individual level (but for example at the household level) and therefore are not all suitable for disaggregation by age. The report “Core ICT Indicators: Partnership on Measuring ICT for Development” can be found at:
http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/ict/partnership/material/CoreICTIndicators.pdf.

Core Indicator

40. Median age of population
Before the middle of this century, older persons and youth will comprise a roughly equal share of the world’s population. The proportion of those aged 60 years and over is expected to double, rising from 10 to 21 per cent between 2000 and 2050, and the proportion of those under 14 years of age will decline by a third, from 30 to 20 per cent. The youth population will decrease from 18 to 14 per cent of the total population. This ageing of society is already apparent in developed countries. The process is occurring at a much higher rate in developing countries, however, and in many cases, the necessary infrastructure and policies will not be in place to manage the resulting developments. Consequently, youth development will increasingly become a prerequisite for meeting the growing care demands of older people, and a condition for the development of society as a whole. The median age of the population is a contextual indicator that indicates the level of ageing of a country.

Core Indicators

26. Rate of convicted children admitted to closed institutions
This indicator measures the response of criminal justice systems to illegal behaviours, rather than juvenile delinquency. The data covers only children convicted of committing an offence and sentenced to detention; not those in police detention or in pretrial detention, and also not those who are sentenced to a sentence other than detention.

The reported responses have clear differences among countries depending on:

  • different behaviours that are considered illegal in different countries;
  • differing ages of criminal responsibility (the surveys refers to juveniles which is then defined differently in each country);
  • differing levels of willingness and capacity of criminal justice systems to deal with children in conflict with the law; and
  • different legal systems.

The data are not available for the youth population, but rather only for children up to 18 years of age. Most countries consider young people above 18 to be adults, subject to the regular penal system.

27. Age at which people are held liable as adults for transgression of the law
This indicator shows the age at which people are held liable for their actions as adults. In most countries, children who act against the law are protected up to a certain age by a specific juvenile justice system.

Desired indicators

A. Number of children in detention per 100,000 child population
This indicator provides information on the number of children in detention in relation to the overall child population. This includes children detained both pre-sentence (in many countries these numbers amount to over 50 per cent of the children in detention, in some up to 90 per cent) and after sentencing.

Children in detention are especially vulnerable to its negative influences, including loss of liberty and separation from the usual social environment. International standards clearly state that detention of children shall only be used as a measure of last resort. Measurement of the proportion of children in detention helps in monitoring progress towards reduction of the use of deprivation of liberty. In addition, countries can get further useful information about the appropriate use of detention by analysing what offence (if any) such children have committed. Finally, the collection of information on the number of children in detention is important for resource allocation and administrative purposes.

Currently data for this indicator are not available at the global level. Depending on the availability of age disaggregated data in the future, this indicator could be included as a core indicator at a later stage.

B. Youth as victims of crime
Young people should not be portrayed only as the committers of crime. Those most likely to suffer from violence are between the ages of 16 and 19. An overwhelming majority of those who participate in violence against young people in developed countries are about the same age and sex as their victims. In most cases the offenders are males acting in groups. Police records indicate that the crime rates of juvenile and young adult male offenders are more than double those of females, and conviction rates are six or seven times higher.

Currently data for this indicator are not available at the global level. Depending on the availability of age disaggregated data in the future, this indicator could be included as a core indicator at a later stage.

C. Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators
Additional indicators are suggested in the Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators, developed by UNODC, including:

  • Number of children in pre-sentence detention per 100,000 child population
  • Percentage of children receiving a custodial sentence
  • Percentage of children diverted or sentenced who enter a pre-sentence diversion scheme
  • Existence of a specialized juvenile justice system

Desired Indicators

Leisure-time activities form an important part of the social and cognitive development of a child. The interaction with peers and family in a setting outside of school or work is of utmost importance. Increasingly there is recognition that leisure-time activities can contribute to the development – to the chances for a good education and employment - of a young person. Partly as a consequence of ever-evolving Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), the way young people spend their leisure time changes over time. While the computer can be used in the context of education and employment, for many youth, it also provides a way to spend their leisure time. Computer games are an increasingly popular form of entertainment in many societies and a higher incidence of socializing now take place through text messaging (cell phones) and on-line meetings.

The following indicators for leisure should be reviewed in comparison with each other. Unfortunately, data for none of these indicators are available that are comparable on a global level.

  • Hours spent watching the television / listening to the radio per week
  • Hours spent reading a book/newspaper/magazine per week
  • Hours spent in front of the computer per week
  • Hours spent playing sports per week
  • Hours spent socializing with peers per week
  • Hours spent engaging in a cultural or religious event per week (including a visit to the theatre, museum, cinema, concert, hobby club, or church)

Core Indicators

29. Voting Age
The most fundamental way to participate in a democracy is by exercising your right to vote. The age that people are allowed to vote differs among countries in the world, but is generally between 16 and 21. Ideally this indicator would be accompanied by information about the participation levels of young people in elections.

30. Legal minimum age of marriage without parental consent
This indicator provides information on the level to which people are thought to be mature enough to take responsibility for their own lives. While the necessary consent of parents to get married can offer protection, it can also limit the ability of people to take life in their own hands.

31. Existence of a National Youth Council
In many countries, national, regional and local youth councils are outlets for major political and civic participation by youth. Youth councils and forums, which may vary in structure and mandate, have been the traditional channels of cooperation and exchange of information with the national government and other decision makers. While the presence of local youth councils and other youth organizations would be interesting to measure, this information is hard to retrieve. It is expected that for most countries it will be possible to identify the presence of a national youth council. Obviously, this indicator does not provide any information on the quality of functioning of the youth council.

Desired indicators

The following indicators are suggested to Governments and policy makers to utilize when assessing the level of youth participation in their countries. Currently there is no comparative data available at the international level for these indicators:

  • The level of youth participation in local decision-making
  • The number or percentage of young people who vote in national and local elections
  • The level of participation in school governance
  • The availability to young people of educational and information programmes and services on human rights, participation and the governance of society
  • The right to and level of freedom of association for young people.