Hidden in plain sight: The Differentiated Impacts of Internal Displacement

This research area aims at better understanding the needs and resources of specific groups of internally displaced people, including children, women, men, youth, older people, members of minority groups and people with disabilities. The objective is to identify policies and support options that can best respond to the different impacts of displacement these groups experience.

Although the amount and quality of information on internal displacement has improved in the past few years, most of it is presented at the national level and considers IDPs to be a coherent group with similar needs and characteristics. This is, however, not the case. Internally displaced women, men, and young people all experience displacement differently: they each have specific demands and resources they can rely on. These specificities must be better understood and taken into account to design more efficient policies and programmes to support them all.

IDMC has started collecting more granular information on the sex, gender and age of IDPs, on the specific challenges they face and on the most effective ways to assist them. The first conclusion from this stock-taking exercise is that blanket solutions to internal displacement often leave the most vulnerable behind. The second conclusion is that knowledge on how IDPs are impacted by displacement differently as a result of their pre-existing characteristics is extremely limited.

To support policies and interventions that focus on internally displaced children, youth, older people, people with disabilities, women, men and people from minority groups, disaggregated data must be collected and analysed. Qualitative research on the differentiated impacts, challenges and opportunities they find in internal displacement must complement the numbers and inform better programming.

Latest publication

Number of IDPs by age at the end of 2019

Information on the age of internally displaced people (IDPs) is essential to assess their needs and design programmes that can support them at every stage of their lives. Assistance must be tailored to respond to the specific necessities and resources of each age group. 

This paper estimates the age of people who were living in internal displacement at the end of 2019 as a result of conflict, violence and disasters, using national-level demographic distribution data for 98 countries. This information is intended as a first step to inform age-sensitive planning and support to IDPs’ health, education, security, livelihoods and housing conditions.

Research lead

Christelle Cazabat

We are always looking to strengthen and expand our existing partnerships. If you are interested in working with us on the differentiated impacts of displacement, please contact christelle.cazabat@idmc.ch.

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