Yemen Yemen

Statistical Snapshot


Yemen is home to an estimated population of 29.1 million in 2019[1], the majority of which is rural, with only 36 percent of the population living in urban areas.[2] Almost 60 percent of the total population are below the age of 24, down from 69 percent in 2000.[1]


Yemen’s Human Development Index (HDI) value for 2018 is 0.483  which put the country at the lower range of the low human development category  positioning it at 177th out of 189 countries and territories. Yemen ranked 153th in human development, before the escalation of conflict in 2015. When adjusted for inequality, the country loses 32 percent of its already low HDI value, largely due to inequality in education.[3]


The ongoing crisis in Yemen is classified by UNOCHA as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world and have already delayed human development in Yemen by 21 years. If conflict persists through 2022, development would be delayed by 26 years.[3]

According to the Global Peace Index, Yemen has been ranked amongst the five least peaceful countries worldwide in 2019, incurring an economic cost of violence estimated at 21 percent of GDP for the same year.[4] Since the beginning of the conflict, over 4.9 million Yemenis fled their homes, of whom around 3.6 million remain internally displaced.[5] It is estimated that 80 percent of the total population currently need some form of humanitarian or protection support, of whom 14.3 million people are in acute need of assistance.[6] 


Five years of escalating violent conflict, economic collapse, and ravaging cholera have caused a dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian conditions in the country. Almost two thirds of the Yemeni population lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities and almost 20 million lack access to basic health assistance. War has hit an already weak health system, where half of the population – or two-thirds of the population in rural areas— lacked access to basic healthcare services even prior to the conflict. The country has been suffering from mass outbreaks of communicable diseases and is fighting the worst cholera outbreak recorded in history, where cholera remained widespread in 90 percent of the districts in 2019, with over 1.3 million suspected cases and more than 2,600 related deaths since the April 2017 outbreak.[7] The country is  very vulnerable to the outbreak of COVID–19, especially since less than half the healthcare facilities are fully functional.[6]


Since March 2015, it is estimated that the economy has contracted by about 50 percent,[4] with a sharp output decline of 28 percent in 2015.[8] In 2018, growth rates become positive for the first time reaching 0.8 percent and 2.9 percent in 2019. However, growth is projected to contract by 3 percent in 2020.[9] In addition, oil and gas production fell by 90 percent since 2014. Agricultural production was also considerably hit by conflict, water scarcity and fuel shortages. In 2016, the size of cultivated areas in Yemen declined by an average of 38 percent.[7]


Inflation declined since the 30.4 percent peak in 2017, reaching 10 percent by the end of 2019 but is projected to shoot again to 26.7 percent in 2020. In 2014, prior to the conflict, inflation in Yemen was 8 percent.[8] Food prices in Yemen were already rising prior to conflict and in 2011, food inflation rate was over 20 percent. In 2019, average food prices were almost 150 percent higher than the pre-conflict levels, while fuel prices in 2018 were three times higher than the pre-conflict levels.[10] Exchange rate volatility and the unprecedented currency depreciation of the Yemeni Rial in 2018 exacerbated inflationary pressures, undermining Yemenis’ purchasing power and further aggravating the humanitarian crisis. Furthermore, according to The World Bank’s latest statistics, around 40 percent of households in Yemen have lost their primary source of income and consequently their ability to purchase their basic necessities.[6] Conflict has brought Yemen to the verge of famine. While around half of the Yemeni population were considered poor before the crisis, 78.5 percent of the Yemeni population lived on less than US$3.20 in 2017. In addition, in 2019 over 20 million people suffered from food insecurity, 7.4 million were at risk of famine and 3.3 million children were malnourished.[7]


With an overall labour force participation rate of 38 percent, the participation rate for men is significantly higher than that for women, 70 percent and 5.8 percent respectively in 2019. Yemen’s unemployment rate has fluctuated around 13 percent since 2010 and is much higher for women reaching 25 percent in 2019 compared to 12 percent for men.[11]


Before the 2015 conflict, Yemen was making substantial progress in education. Primary gross enrolment increased from 73 percent in 1999 to 94 percent in 2016, while girls’ enrolment grew from 52 percent to 87 percent during the same period.[12] However conflict caused a deterioration in the education sector.  More than 2,500 schools were destroyed or occupied by internally displaced people or armed groups[7] and about two million children were out-of-school, with girls' dropout rate estimated at 36 percent compared to 24 percent for boys.[10]



This overview was last updated in May 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2019. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[3] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2020. HDI Database. April 2020. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[4] Institute for Economics and Peace. 2019. Global Peace Index: Measuring Peace in a Complex World. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[5] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[6] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2020. Global Humanitarian Overview 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[7] United Nations Development Programme. 2019. Assessing the Impact of War on Development in Yemen. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[8] International Monetary Fund. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[9] International Monetary Fund. Confronting the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Middle East and Central Asia. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[10] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2020. Yemen Crisis Overview 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[11] International Labor Organization. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].
[12] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 18 May 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • In 2013, 40% (9.8 million people) of the population were multi-dimensionally poor, while an additional 22.4% (around 5.5 million) lived near multidimensional poverty.

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