Type 2 diabetes in the young is an increasing problem with potentially serious outcomes. Our understanding of the worldwide burden of this condition is incomplete, with many studies adopting different methodologies to assess the condition and reporting on specific communities or ethnic groups. Most of the data come from developed nations, with few studies from developing nations. The purpose of this review is to bring together the available data on type 2 diabetes in the young from the developing world, in order to highlight deficiencies in the knowledge of the condition and also to promote strategies to deal with it. Noted also are some of the factors associated with the condition, such as family history, genetic influences, intrauterine environment as well as the importance of birth weight, insulin resistance, obesity, and development of complications. These are of relevance in both developed and developing nations.