The Chair of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) has revealed that young people aged 15-29 make up 29.8 per cent of the total Palestinian population in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Speaking at a press conference organised by Sharek Youth Forum in cooperation with the PCBS on the occasion of World Youth day, Ola Awad explained that 39.6 per cent of young people are in the 15-19 age bracket, while 60.4 per cent are aged 20 to 29. Sharek CEO Badr Zama'reh, who chaired the press conference, emphasised the importance of youth involvement in Palestinian social life and young people's role in the development of state institutions.
Statistics released by the Central Bureau of Statistics concerning youth include the following:
- The total Palestinian population in the occupied territories is 4.29m, with 104.3 males for every 100 females.
- 3 per cent of Palestinian youth suffer from chronic diseases.
- 25 per cent of young Palestinian males are cigarette smokers.
- Computers, IT and social networks "play a positive, important role" in the life of young people.
- 92.3 per cent of women aged 15-29 are married; the figure for men of the same age is 81 per cent.
- The 15-29 age group also accounts for 58 per cent of divorces among men, with 78.5 per cent among women.
- 30.2 per cent of women on a second marriage were married to a relative; 54.9 per cent had no kinship ties to their new husband.
- 44.8 per cent of youths were enrolled in education in 2011. Of these, 84.9 per cent were aged 15-17; 50.8 per cent were 18-22; and 11.9 per cent were in the 23-29 bracket.
- The school dropout rate, whether joined and left or not attended at all, among youths aged 15-29 is 29.7 per cent, of which 34.2 per cent are males and 24.9 per cent females.
- More young women enrolled in higher education than men.
- The data for 2011 showed that 8.6 per cent of males between 15 and 29 years have completed higher education; the figure for females is 11.1 per cent.
- 3.5 per cent of male youths have never completed any level of education; 1.7 per cent among females.
- Illiteracy in this age group stands at 0.7 per cent, of which 0.8 per cent are males and 0.6 per cent are females.
- One fifth of graduates hold commerce and administration degrees.
- A labour force survey for the first quarter of 2012 showed that the number of young degree and higher diploma graduates aged 15 to 29 is 156,000. Around 31,400 graduates specialised in business and management; there were only 2,700 law graduates in 2012.
- The unemployment rate among youths reached 50.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2012.
- Graduates with social and behavioural science degrees have the highest rate of unemployment at 60.1 per cent, compared with engineering graduates whose unemployment rate was the lowest at 33.7 per cent.
- About half of the youths aged 15-29 do not read newspapers daily.
- The statistics for 2010 showed that 49.8 per cent of youths do not read daily newspapers or magazines at all. The West Bank/Gaza Strip split is 40.4 per cent and 65.1 per cent respectively.
- In 2010, 87.2 of the target group watch television daily; 27.1 per cent listen to the radio; and 24.3 per cent use the internet.
- Seven out of ten youths use computers.
- Recent IT data showed a notable development in the use of IT and communication tools by youths aged 15 to 29. Compared with 2004 when the rate of computer users was 47 per cent, the 2011 data showed that 67.5 per cent use computers (70.4 per cent in the West Bank and 62.7 per cent in the Gaza Strip). The gap between male and female users was reduced, with males users at 69.8 per cent and females 65 per cent.
- Almost 43 per cent of youths have an e-mail address, compared with 14.3 per cent in 2004.
- 75 per cent of youths aged 15-29 have a mobile phone, more than double the 2004 rate of 34.9 per cent. More young males have mobile phones (86.3 per cent) than females (36.7 per cent).
- Most youths believe that they enjoy good health: 83.2 per cent, in fact.
- 35.6 per cent play a sport regularly in the West bank; that figure goes down to 29 per cent in the Gaza Strip.
- More than a third of Palestinian youths aged 15-29 are unemployed.
- Data of the first quarter of 2012 showed that 36.6 of youths are commercially active. In the West Bank the rate is 38.7 per cent while it is 33.2 per cent in Gaza.
- Unemployment stands at 35.7 among this age group, with the highest rate among youths aged 20 to 24 at 41.2 per cent in the West Bank and 38.6 per cent in Gaza.
- Unemployment among youths who finished 13 years of study or more is 43.7 per cent.
- 30.4 per cent of youths aged 15-29 work in various service industries; 24.4 per cent work in commerce, such as restaurants and hotels.
- More than 25 per cent of youths are classed as "poor". According to the national concept of poverty based on the official definition set in 1997*, which was built on relative and absolute features of basic five-member-family needs, the rate of poverty was 27.7 per cent in 2010 (18.3 per cent in the West Bank and 38 per cent in Gaza).
*The "normal" poverty line in the Palestinian territories is set at $550 (£350) and the severe poverty line is $440 (£280).