SDC Thematic Working Aid: Employment & Income

Published on 1 January 2019

There are 800 million people living below the international poverty line of US$1.90 a day. They are primarily rural (80 per cent), poorly educated (39 per cent lack formal education) and living in large households with numerous children (44 percent are below 14 years of age). Alongside this economic dimension of marginalisation, exclusion also arises due to discrimination related to gender, race, caste or disability, and to isolation, particularly of those who are geographically remote or living in areas blighted by violence and lack of services, such as in urban slums.

The livelihoods of very marginalised women and men involve vulnerable forms of employment including self-employed workers and contributing family workers. They engage in (often multiple forms of) informal, low productivity and poorly remunerated work such as small-scale farming, running small shops or engaging in simple trading, tailoring, offering transportation (e.g. via cart or bicycle) and day labour outside agriculture. Assets may include small plots of non-irrigated land, animals, bicycles, or radios; although many operate small enterprises with virtually no productive assets. Sixty-four percent are dependent on agriculture, with often casual or seasonal working arrangements.

This publication was produced as part of the Poverty, Politics, and Participatory Methodologies in SDC project.

Cite this publication

Thorpe, J. (2019) 'Employment & Income', SDC Thematic Working Aid, Geneva: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)

Citation copied


Image of Jodie Thorpe

Jodie Thorpe

Research Fellow

Publication details



About this publication

Related content