Globally, 85 per cent of the world’s young people live in developing countries, and an ever-increasing number of them are growing up in cities. It is estimated that by 2030, as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18. All over the world, young people are finding it increasingly difficult to break into the labour market. Youth make up 25% of the global working age population, but account for 43.7% of the unemployed. This means that almost every other jobless person in the world is between the ages of 15 and 24. The exclusion from the economic, political, and social life of their countries breeds disillusionment, hopelessness, and upheaval. Research has found links between youth unemployment and social exclusion, and suggests that this may lead to political and social instability, and possibly to violence.
Action is required to achieve economic prosperity for, and the inclusion of, the youth. Although evidence shows that governments and cities are making efforts to tackle youth poverty and their lack of engagement in governance, resources to undertake such interventions are very limited. UN-Habitat recognizes the potential of the youth as a major force for creating a better urban future.