There were 1.2 billion youth aged 15-24 years globally in 2015, accounting for one out of every six people worldwide. By 2030, the target date for the sustainable development goals, the number of youth is projected to have grown by 7 per cent, to nearly 1.3 billion. Youth can be a positive force for development when provided with the knowledge and opportunities they need to thrive. In particular, young people should acquire the education and skills needed to contribute in a productive economy, and they need access to a job market that can absorb them into its labour force.
Among the greatest challenges facing many countries today are inadequate human capital investment and high unemployment rates among youth.
Some countries are struggling currently to educate and employ their young people, while also anticipating substantial growth in the number of youth. These countries will be doubly challenged in their efforts to assure universal high-quality education, productive employment and decent work for all.
This brief summarises recent and future trends in the size of the youth population and describes the challenges facing countries in educating and employing their youth.