Water, Sanitation and Hygiene


© JMP, 2013
Trends in global sanitation coverage 1990-2011, projected to 2015


Water and sanitation coverage

Drinking-water coverage in 2011 remains at 89% – which is 1% above the MDG drinking-water target. In 2011, 768 million people relied on unimproved drinking-water sources. Sanitation coverage in 2011 is 64%. The world remains off track to meet the MDG sanitation target of 75% and if current trends continue, it is set to miss the target by more than half a billion people.

By the end of 2011, there were 2.5 billion people who still did not use an improved sanitation facility. The number of people practicing open defecation decreased to a little over 1 billion, but this still represents 15% of the global population.

For both water and sanitation there continue to be major disparities among regions. Sanitation coverage is lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, Oceania and South Asia, where 70% and 64% and 59% of people do not have access to improved sanitation respectively. For water, coverage is only 56% in Oceania and 63% in sub-Saharan Africa, but all other regions have coverage rates of 86% or higher. Other disparities also continue: poor people and people living in rural areas are far less likely to have access to improved water and sanitation facilities than their richer and their urban compatriots.

WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation

These coverage figures were released in 2013, and are based on a comprehensive analysis of data by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) for Water and Sanitation. The JMP database draws on close to 1,700 surveys and censuses, covering the period 1980 to 2013.

  • see the JMP website (external site) for in-depth information and statistics
  • see also the JMP reports (right box on this page)

UNICEF Statistics

Economic and social statistics on the countries and territories of the world, with particular reference to children’s well-being, are published annually in the organization’s flagship publication, The State of the World’s Children.

UNICEF also has a specialized statistical website (http://www.childinfo.org/) where you can find all of the latest data on women and children, including that published by the JMP. The site contains analyses at the global, regional and country level, graphics of key findings, and Google tools allowing you to explore and interact with the new statistics, making your own graphs and satisfying your research needs and/or curiosity.

  • To go to the water and sanitation introductory pages on childinfo please click here.
  • To download excel documents of summary national, regional and global data and to access Google tools allowing you to explore and interact with the new statistics, please click here.
  • To access country-specific excel documents, including detailed information on the WHO/UNICEF Coverage estimates, please click here.



Explore the new statistics

The new water and sanitation estimates are available for viewers to explore and interact with. Please access them via the water and sanitaiton pages of UNICEF's specialised statistical website, http://www.childinfo.org/ 

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