Investing in rural youth in the Asia and the Pacific region

This paper characterizes the structural and rural transformation of the Asia and the Pacific region (APR), highlighting the implications for rural youth opportunities and challenges, and identifying and elaborating on the characteristics, opportunities and challenges related to rural youth inclusion. Nearly half of the population in Asia is urban, with the proportion projected to rise to 59 per cent by 2035. Except for China, the majority of youth still reside in rural areas. Youth labour force participation is higher in rural than urban areas, and for males than females. Rural youth in countries with low structural transformation and low rural transformation continue to rely on agriculture for employment; in countries with high levels of transformation, a majority of rural youth are now employed outside agriculture (though it is still the biggest contributor to rural youth employment). About one fifth of youth in Asia are not in education, employment or training. More than 86 per cent of employed youth in Asia and the Pacific are in the informal sector, greater than the proportion of informal employment among adult workers.