According to UNDP, Niger is one of the least developed countries in the world and is at the bottom of the Development Index (HDI) established by the UN body over the world’s countries each year. The assessment is based on income, literacy, life expectancy, child mortality and more.
The World Bank estimates that three-quarters of all Nigerians live in poverty, that is, they have to make less than $ 2 a day. The proportion is smaller in the cities and higher in the countryside.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Niger, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The general state of health in Niger is among the poorer in Africa, although it has improved somewhat in recent years. Child mortality has fallen and life expectancy has increased. But infant mortality is still one of the highest in the world and more than one in nine children die before the age of five. Malnutrition is widespread. Only more than half of the residents have access to clean water in their local environment and only a tenth have functioning sewers.
The healthcare sector is poorly developed. Children under five and pregnant women are entitled to free care, but hospitals are only found in the largest cities and the number of rural care facilities is insufficient. The shortage is greater in the north than in the south. In general, community service is almost non-existent in nomadic communities in the north. Part of the need for care is covered by voluntary organizations and foreign aid agencies.
Malaria, stomach ailments, measles and meningitis are common causes of death. However, the prevalence of HIV / AIDS is low compared to most African countries. Less than one percent of residents are infected (see fact box). Around a third of those who are ill have access to brake medication.
There is no general social protection network. Most are forced to rely on the family to cope when they grow old or ill. Those who have a formal employment will in some cases enjoy some social benefits, but it is a very small group. In parts of the country, Islamic welfare organizations ensure that people’s basic needs are met, for example, by distributing food.
Crime is high. Parts of northern Niger are lawless land where armed leagues ravage. Terrorist groups move across borders in both north and south where they kidnap and kill civilians. With its porous borders, Niger has also become a center for human trafficking.
Society is hierarchical and strictly divided. The individual’s opportunities do not depend as much on formal qualifications as on personal contacts. The small clique that constitutes the country’s political and economic elite has access to education and jobs, while the poor have very little opportunity to improve their situation.
Women are discriminated against in society and women’s abuse is a widespread problem. Rape is common and rarely reported, but it has happened that rapists have been convicted of their actions. A married man is entitled to the couple’s property if a dispute arises. Women are also discriminated against when it comes to inheritance rights. Prostitution is often the only means of livelihood for women who have left their husbands. Women in hausa and fulani people usually do not go out male escorts.
According to the law, girls are allowed to marry at the age of 15, but it happens that girls are given away even earlier, some already in their ten to twelve years. A Nigerian woman gives birth to an average of seven, eight children. Genital mutilation is prohibited by law, but occurs primarily among fulani and derms in the western part of the country. It happens that women who have performed genital mutilation on girls are brought to justice.
Gay or bisexual acts are not prohibited by law, but the general tolerance is low towards sexual minorities.
Slavery is prohibited by the Constitution, but still exists, especially among Tuareg and Arabs, where those who rank lowest on the social scale are forced to work for free throughout their lives, their superiors. Female slaves are often sexually exploited. The children born by the slaves are considered the property of the parent and can be given away as a gift to another family. The data on how many people are forced to work under slave-like conditions are disassembled but estimated at just over 40,000. Those who want to leave the forced labor can at best get some help from the state or some voluntary organization and it has happened that slave owners were sentenced to testimony from former slaves.. Nevertheless, few dare to break free from fear of reprisals and the financial uncertainty that the new life usually entails.
Child labor is prohibited, but from an early age, children can help with common activities such as collecting firewood, guarding the animals, working in agriculture and cooking food. Others are sent to heavy jobs in mines and other workplaces. It also happens that adults force children to beg or prostitute themselves.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 48 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.3 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 45.8 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 13.6 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 7.2 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: $ 23 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 17 percent (2018)