Thematic Series - Hidden in plain sight: Becoming an adult in internal displacement key figures, challenges and opportunities for internally displaced youth

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There were 9.7 million young people between the ages of 15 and 24 living in internal displacement because of conflicts, violence or disasters at the end of 2019. Of those, 3.1 million were under the age of 18.

Age and sex-disaggregated data on IDPs is widely lacking, yet it is indispensable for designing better and more inclusive responses.

Young IDPs are not a homogeneous group. Age, gender, disability status and other factors play a significant role in shaping their lives in displacement and must be considered in response plans.

The ability to access decent livelihoods, pursue quality education and experience safety and wellbeing are essential for young IDPs and are key areas of intervention.

Young IDPs should not only be considered as people with specific needs: they can also take an active part in designing and implementing solutions to displacement.

Young IDPs must receive support and have spaces to voice their needs, wants and ideas for a better future.


Internally displaced young women and men, like all internally displaced people (IDPs), are impacted by displacement in multiple ways. As they are at a crucial time in their lives for their personal, social and professional development, they may have particular ways of facing the experience. They encounter specific risks and sometimes lack the resources to avoid them. They can also, however, find opportunity in the midst of adversity, if the right conditions are in place.

This report presents the first estimates of the number of IDPs between the ages of 15 and 24 at the global, regional and national levels for about 100 countries. Conflicts, violence and disasters resulted in nearly ten million young people living in displacement around the world at the end of 2019. This is the highest figure ever recorded, although it is likely an underestimate.

This report also includes an overview of some of the most recurring challenges young people face in internal displacement. Their age, gender, disability status and socioeconomic background, as well as other factors, play a significant role. In order to illustrate this complexity, the report highlights the experiences of internally displaced girls, members of sexual minority groups and street-connected youth, showing the specific risks they can encounter.

The report is intended to raise awareness on the need to include young IDPs in plans to prevent and respond to displacement, to ensure adequate support for all, and to make the most of the resilience and resources young people can display under such circumstances.

In order to achieve those goals, better age- and sex-disaggregated data on IDPs must be collected. Even more importantly, perhaps, young IDPs must be encouraged to voice their needs and wants and take an active part in the design and implementation of solutions to displacement, now and in the future