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Millennium Development Goals


Millennium Development Goal 1 - To eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Target 1.A - Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 a day

Target 1.B - Achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people

Target 1.C - Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

* data for this year is extrapolated from other years

Poverty Headcount

As of 2015, poverty remains a persistent and widespread issue in Kosovo. A report produced by the Kosovo Agency of Statistics (KAS) on Consumption Poverty found that, in 2011, 29.7% of the population of Kosovo was unable to meet human needs and 10.2% of the population was unable to meet even basic survival needs. These poverty rates are very high compared to neighbouring countries and, though decreasing, have remained persistently high over the past 10 years. Reports from the World Bank and UNDP also identify that poverty and vulnerability levels would be much higher had the safety net of migration and remittances not been provided.

The poverty gap, another measure of poverty that calculates the "depth" of poverty, taking into account both the percentage of the population below the poverty line and how far these individuals are below the poverty line, has also slightly decreased. From 2009 to 2011, the depth of poverty based on the Full Poverty Line declined from 9.6% to 7.8%. Similar falls have been seen in the Extreme Poverty Gap measure, declining from 3.0% to 2.1% over the same period.

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

* data for this year is extrapolated from other years

Employment to population ratio

Employment is key to alleviating poverty. Unfortunately, labour force participation remains low and unemployment remains high in Kosovo, particularly for women.

Albeit starting from a low base, some improvements have been made towards increasing employment in Kosovo. In 2002, 23.8% of the total working age population were employed, while only 8.8% of working age women were employed. By 2013, 28.4% of the total working age population were employed, while 12.9% of working age women were employed. However, despite the improvements, this measure, coupled with the total labour force participation rate of 40.6% in the same year, are the lowest in the Western Balkan region and far lower than the EU average. The female labour participation rate is also one of the lowest in the world at only 21.1%.

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

GDP per Capita

Economic growth is also a powerful instrument for reducing poverty and improving standards of living. Kosovo’s economy grew at a very high average rate of 6.3% per annum between 2006 and 2008, but it has not been able to sustain this high growth in the wake of the economic downturn in 2008-09. During the 2009-2013 period, the Kosovo economy grew at a much lower pace - averaging 3.3% per annum. The main contributors to this economic growth also changed after the 2009 period. Previously, the main contributor was the private sector (consumption and investment); however, growing government expenditures was the main contributor in the period after the economic downturn.

In countries with growing populations, changes in real GDP per capita, changes in output not explained by changes in the population, are often better for showing increases in human welfare and standards of living. When economic growth is measured with real GDP per capita, economic growth rates in Kosovo further decline. Growth in real GDP per capita averaged 4.8% per annum during the period 2006-2008 and 1.8% per annum from 2009 to 2013. To put this in perspective, if real GDP per capita in Kosovo continued to grow at 1.8% per annum, it would take the citizens of Kosovo 39 years to reach the same level as the average citizen of Montenegro.

Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

Gross Primary School enrolments

Primary and lower secondary school enrolments in Kosovo have been high since at least 2009-10. As of 2013-14, no less than 95.5% of eligible students were enrolled in any given year. This suggests that very few children in Kosovo are missing out on this basic education and helps ensure basic literacy, mathematics and English tuition for young people.

There has also been steady growth in the total number of students attending upper secondary and tertiary education. The gross enrolment rate in upper secondary education (general and VET) in 2011-12 was 92.1% - 5.2% points higher than in 2009-10. Additionally, the gross enrolment rate in Kosovo was significantly higher than other countries in the region, such as Croatia (87%), Bosnia & Herzegovina (86%), Serbia (86%) and Macedonia (78%). The percentage of students dropping out of upper secondary education has also decreased. By the end of the 2011-12 year, the dropout rate from upper secondary schools was 2.5%, compared to 3.1% for 2009-2010.

Similarly, there was steady growth in the total number of students attending tertiary education in Kosovo. This was mainly due to the increasing number of private and public higher education institutions and the limited number of employment opportunities. The enrolment rate in tertiary education in 2010-2011 was estimated to be around 57% of the eligible population based on age, where 67% of those who graduated from upper secondary schools were able to pursue tertiary education.

Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

Total Primary School enrolments

The absolute number of children enrolled has been falling since 2007-08, with over 50,000 less children enrolled in primary and lower secondary school in 2014-15 than in 2007-08. However, as reflected in the gross enrolments rates, this does not represent parents pulling children out of school, but simply the changing demographics in Kosovo.

Source: Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

Gender Enrolment Ratios

Ensuring access to education for both sexes plays an important role in providing women with economic, health, and social opportunities to help their own lives, the lives of their families, and the positions of their communities currently and for the future. In Kosovo, the enrolment ratios for women (the number of women enrolled as a percentage of the number of men enrolled in school) increased across the board, but had been relatively high for all years with available data. The biggest improvement was seen in the enrolment ratio for high secondary school. In 2005-06, there were 75 women for every 100 men in high secondary school whereas there were 89 women for every 100 men in 2014-15.

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

Labour Force Participation

One of the main hurdles Kosovo must overcome in order to achieve gender equality is the very low labour participation rate for females. This rate, representing the number of women who are either currently employed or unemployed but actively seeking work as a percentage of all working age women, stood at 21.1% in 2013. That corresponds to about 2 out of every 10 women in Kosovo, compared to about 6 out of every 10 men, either working or looking for work. This rate of female labour participation is also extremely low for the region; Macedonia, Serbia and Albania all have female labour participation rates over 40%.

Unfortunately, the female labour participation has also been on a downwards trend in recent years. As recently as 2002, the female labour participation rate in Kosovo was 34.5% - the highest recorded level in the post-war period. Although the 2013 figure (21.1%) is a slight improvement on the 2012 figure (17.9%), it is hard to determine whether this is the beginning of an upward trend, or simply an anomaly.

Finally, despite lower activity rates, unemployment rates for women are also higher. Even though only 2 in 20 women are active in the labour force, the unemployment rate for women stood at 40%, compared to 28.1% for men in 2012. Less than 10% of businesses are female-led or female-owned, and female-led businesses are smaller (females have on average 3.07 employees, compared to 5.27 among male-led businesses). Additionally, these businesses often have difficulty accessing credit and loans due to their limited collateral. Males currently hold about 92% of collateral properties in Kosovo.

Source: United Nations Kosovo Team

Representation in Parliament

Women remain underrepresented both quantitatively and qualitatively in decision-making processes at all levels in parliament. The Law on Gender Equality states 40% representation for all levels of decision-making; however this has yet to be achieved. In 2014, women held only 33.3% of the seats in the Kosovo Assembly (40 of 120 seats). On the other hand, only 14 of these women were elected, while 24 received their positions due to a quota. Women also remain underrepresented among ministers, deputy ministers, and chairs of assembly committees.

Similarly, women are severely underrepresented in decision-making positions within municipalities; women only lead 14 directorates in all of Kosovo (4.4%) and only the municipality of Gjakova/Djakovica has a female mayor. Finally, among Kosovo’s public employees only 38% are women – however it should be noted that due to the low participation rate of women in Kosovo, this actually means women are being overrepresented when the relative availability of men and women is taken into account.

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

Life Expectancy at Birth

Like many countries, female life expectancy at birth is higher than male life expectancy in Kosovo. In 2013, female life expectancy at birth was 73.0 years meanwhile the male life expectancy at birth was 68.7 years. Additionally, the life expectancy for both males and females is increasing in Kosovo, with both sexes adding approximately 3 years since 2001. However, the life expectancy in Kosovo is significantly lower than other countries in the region. In Kosovo in 2013, the life expectancy at birth is 9 years lower than Albania, 5 years lower then Macedonia and Serbia, and 11 years lower than the EU average.

Source: Eurostat

Infant mortality rate

The infant mortality rate in Kosovo is relatively low by the standards of developing nations, with 11.4 infant deaths per 100,000 live births in 2012. This rate showed significant variation between 2002 and 2012, ranging between 15.1 and 8.8, but has generally exhibited a downward trend.

However, the infant mortality rate in Kosovo is significantly higher than most western countries, and many of the ex-Yugoslav nations. For example, most countries in the EU have infant mortality rates below 5, while Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro all have infant mortality rates around or just over 5. On the other hand, Albania also has a slightly higher infant mortality rate, estimated to be 13.8 in 2012.

Source: Report on Perinatal Situation in Kosovo - 2014

Early neonatal mortality rate

Early neonatal mortality rate is a subset of infant mortality and represents the deaths of children within 6 days of birth. Whereas infant mortality rate represents deaths of children less than one-year old, neonatal mortality data can better reveal the strong improvements being made in postnatal care. From an early neonatal mortality rate of 14.8 in 2000, this rate had fallen to 3.7 in 2014.

Source: Report on Perinatal Situation in Kosovo - 2014

Stillbirth rate

The positive downtrend in the early neonatal mortality rate can also be seen in the decreased number of stillbirths. Typically taken to mean late foetal death (death between 22 weeks’ gestation and birth), the rate has almost halved between 2000 and 2014, falling from a high of 15.9 in 2003 to 8.4 in 2014. Combined with the improvement in the early neonatal mortality rate, this data suggest that improvements should continue to be made in both pre- and post-natal care in Kosovo.

Source: Report on Perinatal Situation in Kosovo - 2014

Maternal Mortality

The maternal mortality rate in Kosovo has varied significantly over the past 10-15 years – from a high of 43.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2009 to 0 deaths in 2013 and 2014.

Setting aside the spike in deaths in 2008 and 2009, there has been a clear downwards trend throughout the past 15 years. In more recent years, the data shows Kosovo also compares well with most countries in the region. For example, Macedonia had an estimated average maternal mortality rate of 8 deaths per 100,000 live births between 2010 and 2015. Meanwhile, Serbia and Albania averaged 17 and 29 deaths per 100,000 live births respectively for the same period. The average for the EU currently stands at approximately 8 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Source: Demographic Social and Reproductive Health Survey in Kosovo

Aware of Modern Contraception

Awareness of modern contraception in Kosovo decreased between 2003 and 2009, but still remains generally high. This awareness also varies with age, with women aged between 25 and 45 having the highest levels of awareness.

Source: Demographic Social and Reproductive Health Survey in Kosovo

Using Modern Contraception

The usage of contraception remains fairly low, particularly amongst women aged 25 and younger. This is may be partially explainable by the relatively young age of marriage for many women in Kosovo, but could also be evidence of the cultural stigma that still exists around the use of contraception.

Source: UNAIDS Kosovo Narrative Report 2015


Kosovo is currently categorised in the group of states with a low rate of HIV. The infection rate is below 1% of the general population and below 5% of all groups threatened by the growing risk of HIV.

Source: World Health Organization - Review of the Tuberculosis Programme in Kosovo

Rate of Tuberculosis

The prevalence of Tuberculosis (TB) in Kosovo has been on the decline; there were 1,678 cases in 2001 and 968 cases in 2012. However, even after this fall, tuberculosis is much more widespread in Kosovo than in other countries in the region and the EU. While the incidence of TB is 18 per 100,000 people in Albania, 17 in Macedonia, and 8 in the EU, the 968 cases in Kosovo during 2012 translates to approximately 53 per 100,000 people.

Source: UNICEF Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2013-14

Measles Vaccinations

The overall rate of vaccination in Kosovo, as reported by health facility records and/or vaccination cards, is high; almost 90% of children between 24 and 35 months are vaccinated against measles. However, disadvantaged communities within Kosovo continue to display high rates of unvaccinated children, with less than 45% of children between 24 and 35 months in Roma, Ashkali and Egyptian communities being vaccinated against measles.

Source: Some Facts on the Environment 2015

Greening Kosovo

Kosovo has made some progress in afforesting (planting forests). Between 2004 and 2010, 2,253 hectares of forest were planted. However, when considering the total land area of Kosovo (1,090,800 hectares), this only represents 0.2%. Furthermore, many sections of forest, covering roughly 44% of Kosovo’s territory, are in poor condition due to inadequate management and illegal logging. This is causing increased soil erosion and landslides, with the costs of forest degradation estimated to be around 0.4% of GDP.

Kosovo also struggles with land degradation from unplanned extension of settlements, industrial and sanitary landfills, and erosion. According to estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Rural Development (MAFRD), around 400 hectares of agricultural land is converted into construction land every year.

Source: World Bank World Development Indicators

Renewable Energy Output/Usage

Kosovo has a very low output rate of renewable energy. Between 2001 and 2012, the output of renewable energy averaged just 2% of total energy output. While renewable energy consumption was significantly higher, averaging 22.1% over the same period, the lack of growth in output suggests little investment into renewable energy in Kosovo. Moreover, greenhouse gas emissions in Kosovo are increasing annually by approximately about 10%.

The lack of investment in renewables is concerning since air pollution is a critical environmental problem in urban areas in Kosovo. Ambient air quality is particularly poor in Prishtine/Pristina, the Obiliq/Obilic area, the Drenas area, and Mitrovice/a. The principal contaminants are sulphur dioxide (SO2), nitrogen oxides NO and NO2 (NOx), ozone (O3), lead (Pb), carbon dioxide (CO2), particulate matter (PM or dust), and dioxin. The main sources of air pollution in Kosovo are:

  • the two relatively old coal-fired power plants of the Kosovo Energy Corporation (KEK) and its coal-mining area
  • the burning of wood and lignite for household heating industrial complexes such as the Mitrovica Industrial Park (Trepca), nickel mining and production in Drenas/Gllogovc (Ferronikeli) and the cement factory in Hani Elexi (Sharrcem), and
  • fossil fuels from increased traffic and old vehicles.

Kosovo has relatively low per capita emissions in comparison to other countries in Europe (5.7t CO2 equivalent per capita per annum in 2008). However, the compared per unit of GDP (0.84 kg CO2 equivalent per EUR in 2008) greenhouse gas emissions in Kosovo are almost double those in the EU (average 0.4 kg/EUR).

Source: Kosovo Environmental Strategy and National Environmental Action Plan


Kosovo has about 1,800 species of flora classified into 139 kingdoms, 63 phyla, 35 orders and 20 classes. More recent data shows there could be as many as 2,500 species. What makes Kosovo flora and fauna important and attractive is the large number (over 200) of endemic, endemic-relict and sub-endemic species. Especially important is a local endemic group of 13 plant species, found only on the mountains. There are also about 250 species of wild vertebrates. Although data is sparse for invertebrate species, about 200 species of butterflies and 500 species of aquatic macrobentos have been recorded. The richest areas with fauna are in Malet e Sharrit and Bjeshkët e Nemuna, where it is estimated that there are 8 fish species, 13 endemic plant species, 12 species of elusory, 180 bird species, 37 species of mammals and 147 butterfly species.

Source: Some Facts on the Environment 2011

Land Use By Municipality

Most land in Kosovo is split between agricultural land and forested land. The municipalities with the largest amounts of forested land are Prishtinë/Priština, Leposaviç/Leposavić and Gjakovë/Đakovica. At the other end of the spectrum, the smaller (geographically) municipalities of Obiliq/Obilić and Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje have little forested land and mainly consist of agricultural land.

Source: Some Kosovo Mosaic 2012

* data for this year is extrapolated from other years

Internet Penetration

The steady increase in internet penetration is a positive trend for Kosovo. As recently as 2004, it is estimated that 6% of households had access to the Internet. By 2014, it was estimated that 84% of households had access to the internet.

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