Data

Female employment-to-population ratio

What you should know about this indicator

Employment to population ratio is the proportion of a country's population that is employed. Employment is defined as persons of working age who, during a short reference period, were engaged in any activity to produce goods or provide services for pay or profit, whether at work during the reference period (i.e. who worked in a job for at least one hour) or not at work due to temporary absence from a job, or to working-time arrangements. Ages 15 and older are generally considered the working-age population.

Limitations and exceptions: Data on employment by status are drawn from labor force surveys and household surveys, supplemented by official estimates and censuses for a small group of countries. The labor force survey is the most comprehensive source for internationally comparable employment, but there are still some limitations for comparing data across countries and over time even within a country.

Comparability of employment ratios across countries is affected by variations in definitions of employment and population. The biggest difference results from the age range used to define labor force activity. The population base for employment ratios can also vary. Most countries use the resident, non-institutionalized population of working age living in private households, which excludes members of the armed forces and individuals residing in mental, penal, or other types of institutions. But some countries include members of the armed forces in the population base of their employment ratio while excluding them from employment data.

The reference period of a census or survey is another important source of differences: in some countries data refer to people's status on the day of the census or survey or during a specific period before the inquiry date, while in others data are recorded without reference to any period. Employment ratios tend to vary during the year as seasonal workers enter and leave.

This indicator also has a gender bias because women who do not consider their work employment or who are not perceived as working tend to be undercounted. This bias has different effects across countries and reflects demographic, social, legal, and cultural trends and norms.

Statistical concept and methodology: The employment-to-population ratio indicates how efficiently an economy provides jobs for people who want to work. A high ratio means that a large proportion of the population is employed. But a lower employment-to-population ratio can be seen as a positive sign, especially for young people, if an increase in their education causes it.

The series is part of the "ILO modeled estimates database," including nationally reported observations and imputed data for countries with missing data, primarily to capture regional and global trends with consistent country coverage. Country-reported microdata is based mainly on nationally representative labor force surveys, with other sources (e.g., household surveys and population censuses) considering differences in the data source, the scope of coverage, methodology, and other country-specific factors. Country analysis requires caution where limited nationally reported data are available. A series of models are also applied to impute missing observations and make projections. However, imputed observations are not based on national data, are subject to high uncertainty, and should not be used for country comparisons or rankings. For more information: https://ilostat.ilo.org/resources/concepts-and-definitions/ilo-modelled-estimates/

Notes from original source: Given the exceptional situation, including the scarcity of relevant data, the ILO modeled estimates and projections from 2020 onwards are subject to substantial uncertainty.

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
1991–2022
Unit
modeled ILO estimate

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

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“Data Page: Female employment-to-population ratio”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from International Labour Organization. Retrieved from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/modeled-female-employment-to-population-ratio [online resource]
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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. “Female employment-to-population ratio” [dataset]. International Labour Organization, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved July 18, 2024 from https://ourworldindata.org/grapher/modeled-female-employment-to-population-ratio