Data

Share of children in employment

What you should know about this indicator

Children in employment refer to children involved in economic activity for at least one hour in the reference week of the survey.

Limitations and exceptions: Although efforts are made to harmonize the definition of employment and the questions on employment in survey questionnaires, significant differences remain in the survey instruments that collect data on children in employment and in the sampling design underlying the surveys. Differences exist not only across different household surveys in the same country but also across the same type of survey carried out in different countries, so estimates of working children are not fully comparable across countries. For detailed source information, see footnotes at each data point.

Statistical concept and methodology: Data are from household surveys by the International Labor Organization (ILO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, and national statistical offices. The surveys yield data on education, employment, health, expenditure, and consumption indicators related to children's work. Since children's work is captured in the sense of "economic activity," the data refer to children in employment, a broader concept than child labor (see ILO 2009a for details on this distinction).

Household survey data generally include information on work type - for example, whether a child is working for payment in cash or in kind or is involved in unpaid work, working for someone who is not a member of the household, or involved in any type of family work (on the farm or in a business).

In line with the definition of economic activity adopted by the 13th International Conference of Labour Statisticians, the threshold set by the 1993 UN System of National Accounts for classifying a person as employed is to have been engaged at least one hour in any activity relating to the production of goods and services during the reference period. Children seeking work are thus excluded. Economic activity covers all market production and certain nonmarket production, including production of goods for own use. It excludes unpaid household services (commonly called "household chores") - that is, the production of domestic and personal services by household members for a household's own consumption.

Country surveys define the ages for child labor as 5-17. The data here have been recalculated to present statistics for children ages 7-14.

Source
Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
1994–2016
Unit
% of children ages 7-14

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
Citation
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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Citations

How to cite this page

To cite this page overall, including any descriptions, FAQs or explanations of the data authored by Our World in Data, please use the following citation:

“Data Page: Share of children in employment”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from International Labour Organization, UNICEF and World Bank. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/incidence-of-child-labour [online resource]
How to cite this data

In-line citationIf you have limited space (e.g. in data visualizations), you can use this abbreviated in-line citation:

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

Full citation

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Share of children in employment” [dataset]. International Labour Organization, UNICEF and World Bank, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 18, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/incidence-of-child-labour