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Last update: Jan 2013

The challenge

 

Millions of children work to help their families in ways that are neither harmful nor exploitative. But many children are put to work in ways that often interfere with their education, drain their childhood of joy and crush their right to normal physical and mental development. Such work is considered harmful to the child and should therefore be eliminated.

 

Nearly one in six children aged 514 are engaged in child labour in the world
Percentage of children aged 514 engaged in child labour at the time of the survey, by region

              

Note: Estimates based on a subset of 91 countries covering 71% of the population of children aged 5-14 in the world (excluding China, for which comparable data are not available in UNICEF global databases). Regional estimates represent data from countries covering at least 50% of the regional population.
Source: UNICEF global databases, 2012. Based on DHS, MICS and other national surveys, 2002-2011

 

Boys and girls are equally likely to be engaged in child labour, across all regions
Percentage of boys and girls aged 514 engaged in child labour at the time of the survey, by region

                 

Note: Estimates based on a subset of 89 countries covering 70% of the population of boys aged 5-14 and 70% of the population of girls aged 5-14 in the world (excluding China, for which comparable data are not available in UNICEF global databases). Regional estimates represent data from countries covering at least 50% of the regional population.
Source: UNICEF global databases, 2012. Based on DHS, MICS and other national surveys, 2002-2011.


 

According to the UNICEF standard definition, the following children are considered to be engaged in child labour: children 511 years in economic activity, or in household chores for 28 hours or more during the reference week; children 1214 years in economic activity (excluding those in light work for fewer than 14 hours per week) or in household chores for 28 hours or more during the reference week.