Yemen Yemen

Statistical Snapshot



Yemen is home to an estimated population of 30.4 million in 2021[1], the majority of which is rural, with only 38.5 percent of the population living in urban areas.[2] Almost 58 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 2019 is 0.47 – which put the country at the lower range of the low human development category – positioning it at 179th out of 189 countries and territories. Yemen ranked 153rd in human development, before the escalation of conflict in 2015. When adjusted for inequality, the country loses 31.7 percent of its already low HDI value, largely due to inequality in education.[3]


The ongoing crisis in Yemen has been classified by UNOCHA as the worst humanitarian crisis in the world for the past four years and have already delayed human development in Yemen by 21 years. If conflict persists through 2022, development would be delayed by 26 years.[4]

According to the Global Peace Index, Yemen has been ranked amongst the five least peaceful countries worldwide in 2020, incurring an economic cost of violence estimated at 22 percent of GDP in 2019 prices.[5]


Since the beginning of the conflict, critical infrastructure was destroyed and over 4 million fled their homes and remain internally displaced.[6] Conflict led to food insecurity leaning to famine with more than half of the population facing acute levels of food insecurity, an estimated 24.3 million people in 2020 in need of some form of humanitarian and protection assistance, of whom 14.4 million are in acute need of assistance.[7]

Around 20.5 million Yemenis do not have access to safe water and sanitation and 20 million cannot access basic healthcare services.[7] Consequently, and over six years of escalating violent conflict and economic collapse, Yemen has been wrestling with mass outbreaks of preventable diseases, such as cholera leading to a dramatic deterioration of the humanitarian conditions in the country. Yemen suffers from the worst cholera outbreak recorded in history, where cholera remained widespread in 90 percent of the districts in 2019.[8]


Since March 2015, it is estimated that the economy has contracted by about 50 percent,[5] with a sharp output decline of 28 percent in 2015.[9] In 2018, growth rates become positive for the first time reaching 0.8 percent and 2.1 percent in 2019. However, growth contracted by 5 percent in 2020; economic prospects in 2021 are highly uncertain.[9] 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.[8]


Unprecedented currency depreciations in 2018 and 2019 led to lasting inflationary pressure on the Yemeni riyal, undermining Yemenis’ purchasing power and further aggravating the humanitarian crisis. Inflation declined since the 30.4 percent peak in 2017, reaching 10 percent by the end of 2019 but then increased again to 26.2 percent in 2020. In 2014, prior to the conflict, inflation in Yemen was 8 percent.[9] 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]  Furthermore, according to The World Bank’s latest statistics, more than 40 percent of households in Yemen have lost their primary source of income and consequently their ability to purchase their basic necessities. While around half of the Yemeni population were considered poor before the crisis, currently 71 to 78 percent of Yemenis are considered poor. Women are more severely affected than men.[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 6 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[8] and about two million children were out-of-school, with girls' dropout rate estimated at 36 percent compared to 24 percent for boys.[10]


Yemen is very vulnerable to the outbreak of COVID–19, especially since less than half the healthcare facilities are fully functional.[13] Yemenis’ extreme fragility was aggravated and the country’s socio-economic conditions further deteriorated in because of the economic impact of the pandemic, increasing fuel and food prices, the devastated public infrastructure and resulting shortages of basic inputs and the country’s limited capacity to handle extreme climate events and natural disasters, namely the torrential rains and flooding and the desert locust plague.


As for COVID-19, there were 7,012 confirmed cases between January 3, 2020 and July 26, 2021, with 1,373 reported deaths. As of July 11, 2021, a total of 297,495 vaccine doses have been administered.[14] However, Yemen is one of 20 countries in the Eastern Mediterranean Region which are expected to receive a total of 46 to 56 million additional doses of AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines during the first half of 2021 as part of COVAX Facility.[15] By the end of March, Yemen received 360,000 AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccines doses shipped via the COVAX Facility.[16]



This overview was last updated in July 2021. 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 28 May 2021].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[3] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2020. Human Development Report. [ONLINE] Available at [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[4] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Assessing the impact of war on development in Yemen. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2021].
[5] Institute for Economics and Peace. 2020. Global Peace Index: Measuring Peace in a Complex World. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[6] United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[7] The World Bank. 2021. Yemen Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 30 May 2021].
[8] United Nations Development Programme. 2019. Assessing the Impact of War on Development in Yemen. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2020].
[9] International Monetary Fund. IMF Data Mapper, April 2021. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 May 2021].
[10] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2020. Yemen Crisis Overview 2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2020].
[11] International Labor Organization. 2019. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 28 May 2021].
[12] The World Bank. 2020. World Development Indicators. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 25 November 2020].

[13] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2021. Global Humanitarian Overview 2021. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 28 May 2021].

[14] World Health Organization. March 2021. WHO Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dashboard. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 27 July 2021].

[15] UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ReliefWeb. February 2021. Glimmer of hope: COVID-19 vaccines roll out in countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2021].

[16] United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF). 2021. Yemen receives 360,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses through the COVAX Facility. [ONLINE] Available at:  [Accessed 28 May 2021].


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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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