Measuring Social Protections

ILO Statistics on Social Protections

The seminal ILO paper on the economics of forced labour, Profits and Poverty, explains the hypothesis that social protection can mitigate the risks that arise when a household is vulnerable to sudden income shocks, helping to prevent labour exploitation. It also suggests that access to education and skills training can enhance the bargaining power of workers and prevent children in particular from becoming victims of forced labour. And measures to promote social inclusion and address discrimination against women and girls may also go a long way towards preventing forced labour.

Measures of Social Protection

As the ILO explains:

Social Protections (at least one): Population covered by at least one social protection

Social Protection coverage rate: Share of the population actually receiving benefits of contributory and non-contributory social protection programmes or actively contributing to social insurance schemes. Preferred and/or most common source: Various types of administrative records.

Social Protections Pension: Proportion of older persons receiving a pension measured as a ratio of persons above statutory retirement age receiving an old-age pension to the persons above statutory retirement age

Social Protections Unemployment: Proportion of unemployed receiving benefits measured as a ratio of recipients of unemployment benefits to the number of unemployed persons.

Social Protections Children: Proportion of children covered by social protection benefits measured as a ratio of households receiving benefits for children to the total number of households with children.

Social Protections Most Vulnerable: Proportion of vulnerable persons receiving benefits measured as a ratio of social assistance recipients to the total number of vulnerable persons. The latter are calculated by subtracting from the total population all people of working age contributing to a social insurance scheme or receiving contributory benefits and all persons above retirement age receiving contributory benefits.

Social Protections Disabled: Proportion of persons with disabilities receiving benefits
Disability Status as explained by the ILO:

“For measurement purposes, a person with a disability is defined as a person who is limited in the kind or amount of activities that he or she can do because of ongoing difficulties due to a long-term physical condition, mental condition or health problem.

Sources for data on social protection

The main data source is the Social Security Inquiry, the ILO’s periodic collection of administrative data from national ministries of labour, social security, welfare, finance and others.

Since 1950, the ILO’s Social Security Inquiry has been the main global source of administrative data on social protection. Secondary data sources include existing global databases of social protection statistics, including those of the World Bank, UNICEF, UNWOMEN, HELPAGE, OECD and the International Social Security Association.


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