Some 1.2 billion adolescents aged 10-19 years today make up 16 per cent of the world’s population

The proportion of adolescents in the global population peaked around 1980 and is now on the decline almost everywhere, a trend expected to continue through 2050. The absolute number of adolescents, however, is expected to rise during that same period.

More than half of all adolescents globally live in Asia. In absolute numbers, South Asia is home to more adolescents – nearly 350 million – than any other region. It is followed by East Asia and the Pacific with over 300 million. The adolescent population of either of these regions dwarfs that of any other region in the world.

Despite this, sub-Saharan Africa is the region where adolescents make up the greatest proportion of the population, with fully 23 per cent of the region’s population aged 10–19.


Adolescent well-being encompasses many dimensions and UNICEF monitors several adolescent-specific indicators in the following vital areas: