Find information designed to help keep informal workers safer as they work during the COVID-19 pandemic AND information to assist informal worker organizations and allies in advocacy efforts.
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Statistics on the size and significance of the informal economy
The first-ever global estimates on the size of informal employment, published by the ILO in 2018, show 61% of all workers are informally employed. That’s 2 billion workers worldwide—whether self-employed, wage workers, casual day labourers or dependent contractors.
But the numbers are higher or lower depending on the region:
Informal employment as a per cent of total employment by region (excluding developed countries)
|Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding Southern Africa)||92|
|Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole||89|
|East and South-eastern Asia (excluding China)||77|
|Middle East and North Africa||68|
|Latin America and the Caribbean||54|
|Eastern Europe and Central Asia||37|
WIEGO has completed comprehensive data on informal workers in urban areas of these countries:
- Informal Workers in Urban South Africa: A Statistical Snapshot (2019) by Mike Rogan
- Informal Workers in Urban Thailand: A Statistical Snapshot (2019) by Wissanee Poonsab, Joann Vanek and Françoise Carré
- Informal Workers in Ghana: A Statistical Snapshot (2020) by William Baah-Boateng and Joann Vanek
Looking for the size of YOUR COUNTRY’s informal workforce?
Country statistics on informality are found at Appendix B, Table B1 (pages 85-90) in Women and Men in the Informal Economy, 3rd edition (PDF, 10Mb).