'Statistics have power... When statistics are in the hands of activists, then struggles are strengthened' Ela Bhatt, founder of the Self Employed Women's Association, India.
Regional estimates compiled by the WIEGO network in 2002 suggested that half to three-quarters of the non-agricultural workforce in developing countries was informally employed at the beginning of the 21st century.
More specifically, of non-agricultural employment, informal employment comprised:
- 48 % in North Africa
- 51 % in Latin America
- 65 % in Asia
- 72 % in sub-Saharan Africa.
This research 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 allows, profiles have been constructed for waste collectors, street traders and home based workers. Researchers are also reflecting on the strengths and limitations of existing data collection techniques so as to facilitate cross country learning about how best to capture statistics on the urban informal economy.
Data analysis is complete in South Africa, India and Buenos Aires in Argentina.
Data analysis is underway using national labour force surveys in Brazil, Ghana and Kenya.
WIEGO is working alongside the French Institute DIAL to construct city level estimates for an additional 15 cities.
Outputs so far:
- Wills, G. 2010. South Africa's Informal Economy: A Statistical Profile. Research Report, No. 7. (downloadable link)
Watch this page for forthcoming reports and fact sheets reflecting this work.