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

Key figures, challenges and opportunities for internally displaced youth

This report presents the first estimates of the number of internally displaced people between the ages of 15 and 24 at the global, regional and national levels for about 100 countries. Conflicts, violence and disasters resulted in nearly ten million young people living in displacement around the world at the end of 2019. This is the highest figure ever recorded, although it is likely an underestimate.

This report also includes an overview of some of the most recurring challenges young people face in internal displacement. Their age, gender, disability status and socioeconomic background, as well as other factors, play a significant role. In order to illustrate this complexity, the report highlights the experiences of internally displaced girls, members of sexual minority groups and street-connected youth, showing the specific risks they can encounter.

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.

Have a look at our other research areas