Which countries have the highest (and lowest) youth unemployment rate?

A poster that says, "Youth without future, no home, no job, no pension and no fear" during a demonstration in Madrid, Spain. Greece and Spain record youth unemployment rates approaching 60 percent. Photo by: Xurxo Martínez / CC BY-NC-SA

There are few more daunting challenges facing young people today than the crisis of youth unemployment. Fueled in large part by the global youth bulge, roughly 75 million young people are currently unemployed worldwide. If young people who have given up on the job hunt are counted, that figure rises to as high as 300 million.

Struggling through a period of political and economic upheaval, the Middle East and North Africa is the region with the highest level of youth unemployment — nearly 30 percent in 2013. In Egypt, the region’s most populous country, the youth unemployment rate stands at a staggering 39 percent.

Economies hit hardest by the eurozone crisis also rank among the countries with the highest youth unemployment. Both Greece and Spain record youth unemployment rates approaching 60 percent.

Elsewhere on the globe, however, the picture is not nearly as bleak. In the world’s poorest region of sub-Saharan Africa, the youth unemployment rate stands at 14 percent, just above the global aggregate figure. The youth unemployment rate is even lower in East Asia and Pacific, South Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Along with Cambodia, Rwanda is the country recording the lowest youth unemployment rate in the world — just 0.7 percent. It’s worth noting that questions have been raised over the reliability of Rwanda’s unemployment figures.

Check out the infographic below for a look at youth unemployment rates around the world.

The Middle East and North Africa is the region with the highest youth unemployment rate in 2013. View map’s larger version here.

Want to learn more? Check out the Youth Will website and tweet #YouthWill.

Youth Will is an online conversation hosted by Devex in partnership with Chemonics, The Commonwealth Secretariat, The MasterCard Foundation and UN-Habitat to explore the power that youth around the globe hold to change their own futures and those of their peers.

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About the author

  • Piccio

    Lorenzo Piccio

    Lorenzo is a contributing analyst for Devex. Previously Devex's senior analyst for development finance in Manila, he is currently an MA candidate in international economics and international development at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington. Lorenzo holds a bachelor's degree in government and social studies from Wesleyan University.

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