The traditional, highly hierarchical community life in the Marshall Islands is still there, but is increasingly being suppressed by a more modern lifestyle. Modernization has created some social problems, such as drug abuse and increased crime.
Traditional societies constitute a complicated system of matrilinear clans, that is, large families within which land and titles are inherited on the mother’s side. However, the transition to monetary economics has meant that women have gradually lost control of the earth. The traditional chieftains still have a significant influence in society.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Marshall Islands, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The Marshall Islands are a relatively poor and undeveloped country, but with assistance from the United States a relatively well-functioning health care system has nevertheless been expanded. New eating habits have led to common diseases of welfare, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Smoking and alcoholism are also widespread health risks.
Several studies have shown an increased number of cancer cases in the islands as a result of the US nuclear tests during the 1940s and 1950s (see Modern History). It has also been revealed that the United States conducted medical experiments by deliberately exposing residents to radioactivity.
Almost all residents have access to clean drinking water, while almost four out of five have access to functioning sewers.
Violence against women is a widespread problem. In a 2016 report by a state women’s rights organization, Women United Together Marshall Islands, over half of the women surveyed had been subjected to domestic violence. Women’s participation in political life is limited. The reason is that traditional values disadvantage women in this context.
Child labor is not reported to occur in a formal sense, that is, children do not have wage labor. However, it is common for children to help at home and in agriculture or fishing. Child abuse is prohibited.
The Marshall Islands have been accused by the US Department of Foreign Affairs of being a target for so-called sex trafficking, that is, trafficking in women and children mainly for the purpose of exploiting them for prostitution. The victims of human smuggling are mainly women from East Asia. The United States has accused the government of the Marshall Islands of not taking adequate action against the smuggling and of not providing assistance to the victims. In 2013, the US Department of State put the Marshall Islands on an international Tier 2 Watch List of countries that act in this way. In 2015, the Marshall Islands were moved to another list (Tier 3 Watch List), which means that the situation has improved but that the problem remains. In 2016, the country remained on the latter list.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 27 per 1000 births (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 78.2 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 83.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 22.1 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 851 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 9 percent (2018)