Most children in developing countries combine education with paid or unpaid labor. There are significant gender differences in the types and location of this labor, but research indicates that heavy work burdens for children reduce school attendance rates and academic achievement. Worldwide, girls are significantly more likely than boys to be involved in unpaid household labor (commonly called “chores”), and boys are slightly more likely than girls to be employed outside the household. Unpaid household labor may include caring for siblings, fetching water, cooking, or other similar activities but does not include income-generating agricultural work on a family's land.

Data from a household survey conducted in the 2000s in 16 developing countries provide a profile of work activities. Although there is significant cross-country variation, on average, ...

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