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Informal Economy Topic(s): Statistics on the Informal Economy

The Development of Statistics on the Informal Economy

Developing Concepts and Definitions

At the 1991 International Labour Conference, the informal sector was chosen as a topic for tripartite debate. This was the first time that the informal sector was featured as a major agenda item in an international conference. In 1992, the ILO Bureau of Statistics prepared a report called “Statistics on Employment in the Informal Sector” as the basis for discussion at the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) the following year.

Statistics on the Informal Economy

Analysis of informal employment and informal workers is a new area of statistical development. This section of the website examines the available data, as well as the concepts, definitions and methods that underpin this growing area of investigation.

Statistical Picture

To inform economic and social policies, statistics on the size, composition, contribution, and other dimensions of the informal economy are needed. But, as a relatively new area of statistical development, until recently only limited data have been available on informal employment and the informal economy. What follows is a summary of available data on the size and composition of the informal economy in developing countries and non-standard work in developed countries.

Concepts, Definitions & Methods

This section of the website provides interested users of statistics on informal employment with information to maximize the use of available data and to begin discussions with producers of these statistics to better meet their data needs. Dialogue and collaboration between statisticians and users of statistics is key to producing timely data that informs policy. (See, for example, "Improving statistics on informal employment in India: the role of users.") 

WIEGO and WIEGO-Related Publications on Statistics

The following recent WIEGO and WIEGO-related publications provide data on informal employment and employment in the informal sector, as well as information on measurement methods relating to these concepts.

Gender Differences in the Structure of Employment

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has developed this set of indicators for monitoring progress of the Millenium Goal 3 on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Row

 

Women

Men   

0

Share in total employment (both sexes = 100.0 %)

Statistics Meetings on the Informal Economy

International Expert Group on Informal Sector Statistics,
"The Delhi Group"

Delhi Group on Informal Sector Statistics - Brief History and Purpose
All meeting reports

Measuring Informal Employment in Developed Countries

Harvard University
Cambridge MA, USA
October 31-November 1, 2008

Closing the Gender Data Gap

On July 19, 2012, the US State Department and Gallup co-organized a conference in Washington, DC on “Evidence and Impact: Closing the Gender Data Gap”.

Urban Informal Economy Statistics

This statistics work, part of the Inclusive Cities project, aims to establish the best possible statistical picture of size and contribution of the informal economy in urban areas in general, and a number of large cities in particular. Where the data allow, profiles have been constructed for waste pickers, street vendors and home-based workers.