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Social Development

The report focuses on the social and economic wellbeing of older persons and documents the demographics of older age; their economic status and participation in the labour force; the health of older persons; and the societal perceptions and social integration of older persons. On each of these topics, the report attempts to account for the diversity of situations of older persons in society and across the world. It also attempts to capture the changing reality and perceptions of old age as well old persons’ own views.

The report is based on recent research and empirical data from various sources available to the United Nations Secretariat, and includes a range of up-to-…


This report, published by the Population Division, is the third in the series of the analysis of reproductive behaviour worldwide. It discusses levels and trends of fertility, the timing of childbearing, marriage, contraceptive use and national policies with respect to fertility and childbearing for 196 countries or areas. The data presented are obtained from civil registration statistics, population censuses and nationally representative sample surveys.


The report provides a comprehensive set of mortality estimates for the world’s countries. The objectives of the report are twofold. First, the results of the 2006 Revision of World Population Prospects are used to provide an overview of levels and trends of mortality for 195 countries and areas that had populations of 100,000 or higher in 2007. The second objective is to document the availability of information relevant to the estimation of child and adult mortality at the national level in order to set the basis for the continuing improvement of mortality estimation.

Economic Analysis and Policy

If the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are to be achieved, a serious shortfall in funding must be addressed. This is the stark revelation of the UN’s MDG Gap Task Force report, released today in New York. Introducing the report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon underlined the importance of the report’s findings, saying “we cannot afford to leave the poor even further behind.”


The number of deaths of children under the age of five declined from 12.4 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2009, which means nearly 12,000 fewer children die each day. Some of the world’s poorest countries have also made impressive gains in the fight against poverty, but the least developed countries still lag in efforts to improve living standards.

Economic Analysis and Policy

Nothing short of a technological revolution on the scale of the first industrial revolution will be required to meet the challenge of sustainable development. Enormous improvements in human welfare have taken place over the past two centuries, but at a lasting cost of degradation of our natural environment. Continuation along established economic growth paths means that the Earth's capacity to ensure human welfare and serve as a sink for the waste and pollution generated in the creation of that welfare will be exceeded.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2011 analyses the challenges and options involved in shifting to a "green economy" based on more efficient and renewable…

Social Development

“The economic crisis reminds us that it is essential for people to be healthy, educated, adequately housed and well fed to be more productive and better able to contribute to society,” said Jomo Kwame Sundaram, DESA’s Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development. “Social policy should be an integral part of economic policy.”

Economic Analysis and Policy

The recovery of the global economy continues, with strong output growth in developing countries and a weaker economic performance in developed countries. Higher energy and food prices have created upward pressure on inflation rates, underpinning the tightening of monetary policy, especially in many developing countries. Employment trends have been improving, but major challenges such as rising long-term unemployment and high youth unemployment in a number of economies remain. World trade of goods and services expanded stronger than expected last year, marking a strong rebound from the severe contraction in 2009 with developing countries, particularly Asian economies with large shares in…


The 2010 Revision of the World Population Prospects is the twenty-second round of global demographic estimates and projections undertaken by the Population Division of DESA. The world population prospects are used widely throughout the UN and by many international organizations, research centers, academic researchers and the media. This new revision was released on 3 May and key findings and projections were presented at a press conference in New York by Hania Zlotnik, Director of DESA’s Population Division. The next revision is due in the first part of 2013.

Public Administration

This publication provides an overview of 145 successful innovations in governance and public administration from 50 countries that received the United Nations Public Service Awards, which is the most prestigious international recognition of excellence in public service.

The purpose of the series is to disseminate, through descriptive case studies, information about innovative practices by:

(i) looking at the problem that led to an innovation;

(ii) the solution that was designed and implemented to respond to the specific challenge;

(iii) the actors and steps involved in the innovation process, and

(iv) lessons learned. Learning more about how public…

Social Development

The perceptions of the role of women and men in families have changed over the past few decades. Men are no longer perceived as the economic providers to families.  The role of men in the family has undergone many “diverse demographic, socio-economic and cultural transformations” impacting the formation, stability and overall well-being of families. In light of this development, DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD) launched a new publication on “Men in Families and Family Policy in a Changing World” on 17 February focusing on the shifting roles and views of men in families.

Economic Analysis and Policy

The publication predicts weaker global growth in 2011 and 2012 as the recovery has lost momentum since the middle of 2010. World gross product is forecast to expand by 3.1 per cent in 2011 and 3.5 per cent in 2012, following estimated growth of 3.6 per cent in 2010. The report emphasizes that the outlook remains uncertain, surrounded by serious downside risks. It further indicates that, in the short run, more fiscal stimulus will be needed to reinvigorate the global recovery, but that it will need to be better coordinated with monetary policies and reoriented to provide stronger support to employment generation.