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At a glance: Liberia


Click for a detailed map (PDF)

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

Nearly 300,000 refugees and internally displaced persons have returned to their homes in 2005 after the end of a brutal 14-year civil war.

Peaceful national elections have been held, but the re-establishment of state authority and law and order has only just begun.

The state of social services country-wide is still far below pre-war levels. More than one third of the population, and an even higher proportion of the country’s children, lives on less than $1 a day.

Issues facing children in Liberia

  • Liberia’s infant and under-5 mortality rates remain among the five highest in the world. More than 15 per cent of children die before reaching their first birthday.
  • Preventable diseases like malaria and measles are among the leading killers of children. Malnutrition and respiratory infections kill thousands of children each year.
  • Nearly 40 per cent of children under age five suffer from stunting as a result of malnutrition.
  • Nearly 40 per cent of the population does not have access to safe water, and nearly 75 per cent does not have access to adequate sanitation.
  • Statistics show an HIV/AIDS prevalence rate of 5.9 per cent; the actual rate is believed to be higher.
  • Armed conflict, HIV/AIDS and other diseases have orphaned an estimated 230,000 children.
  • Half a million children do not attend school. Two thirds of students are being taught by unqualified teachers. Girls’ enrolment rates lag far behind those for boys.
  • Despite the cessation of fighting, armed forces along the borders with Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire continue to recruit children into their ranks.

Activities and results for children

  • UNICEF and its partners continue to provide basic and emergency health care to thousands of people living in camps for internally displaced populations.
  • Approximately 1 million children were vaccinated against polio and received vitamin A supplements. A total of 185 health facilities now perform routine immunizations. UNICEF also helped to rehabilitate the national cold-chain system.
  • UNICEF and its partners reactivated 27 health clinics and launched a measles vaccination program for all children under age five in three counties.
  • The World Food Programme partnered with UNICEF to treat more than 100,000 malnourished women and children in IDP camps.
  • Clean water and improved sanitation facilities benefited more than 200,000 students in over 1,000 schools.
  • UNICEF and its partners provided educational kits for more than 1,000 schools and supplies for nearly 350,000 children. Nearly 1,000 teachers (including 600 women) completed their primary school teacher training.
  • The National Assembly adopted a comprehensive girls’ education policy.
  • Nearly 12,000 children have been demobilized from fighting forces.
  • UNICEF and its partners have helped to train more than 1,500 new Liberian National Police officers in child rights and child protection.



Basic Indicators

Under-5 mortality rank


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990


Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012


U5MR by sex 2012, male


U5MR by sex 2012, female


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990


Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012


Neonatal mortality rate 2012


Total population (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012


Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012


GNI per capita (US$) 2012


Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012


Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*


Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*


Definitions and data sources [popup]

Source: The State of the World's Children

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