The informal sector in an economy may be a source of unfair competition to registered, formal firms and also deprive governments of potential tax revenue and diminish a government's capacity for regulatory oversight. The indicators on this page measure the degree of informality among businesses in 158 economies. The results are based on surveys of more than 207,000 firms. A database query tool is available to help you better understand the scope of informality across various firm subgroups. You can also generate graphs to compare economies.

In addition to the Enterprise Survey data, we have also conducted surveys specifically for informal firms. These surveys can be found in the Full Survey Data section for the following 17 economies: Angola, Argentina, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Guatemala, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritius, Nepal, Niger, Peru, and Rwanda.

To see the details for a specific economy, click on the links below. Click on column headers to sort data.


Notes
* This indicator is computed using data from manufacturing firms only.

Additional Notes

  1. Most surveys were administered using the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology as outlined in the Methodology page, while some others did not strictly adhere to the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology. For example, for surveys which do not follow the Global Methodology, the Universe under consideration may have consisted of only manufacturing firms or the questionnaire used may have been different from the standard global questionnaire. Data users should exercise caution when comparing raw data and point estimates between surveys that did and did not adhere to the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology. For surveys which did not adhere to the Global Methodology plus Afghanistan 2008, any inference from one of these surveys is representative only for the data sample itself.
  2. Regional and "all economies" averages of indicators are computed by taking a simple average of economy-level point estimates. For each economy, only the latest available year of survey data is used in this computation. Only surveys, posted during the years 2010-2020, and adhering to the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology are used to compute these regional and "all economies" averages.
  3. Descriptions of firm subgroup levels, e.g. how the ex post groupings are constructed, are provided in the Indicator Descriptions (PDF, 710KB) document.
  4. Statistics derived from less than or equal to five firms are displayed with an "n.a." to maintain confidentiality and should be distinguished from ".." which indicates missing values. Also note for three growth-related indicators under the "Performance" topic, these indicators are not computed when they are derived from less than 30 firms.
  5. Standard errors are labeled "n.c.", meaning not computed, for the following: 
         1) indicators for all surveys that were not conducted using the Enterprise Surveys Global Methodology and
         2) for indicator breakdowns by ex post groupings: exporter or ownership type, and gender of the top manager.
  6. Please cite our data as follows:
    Enterprise Surveys (http://www.enterprisesurveys.org), The World Bank.