Tanzania Social Condition Facts

Social conditions

The vast majority of Tanzanians live in poor conditions in rural areas and rely on what their small crops have to offer. However, hunger does not usually prevail. The family and the village community are the most important social protection networks in Tanzania.

Rural residents are usually poorer than urban residents. However, congestion, poor hygienic conditions and high crime are challenges that the big city slum dwellers have to contend with.

People with formal employment are offered pensions, survivors’ protection, maternity benefits and accident and disability insurance by the state. However, compensation levels are low. Only wage earners and employers are automatically connected to the state pension system.

The government’s ambition was previously free health care for all, but doctors’ visits are now fee-based and there is a shortage of medicines. Both mission healthcare and traditional medicine help fill the big gaps in state healthcare.

tanzania population

Tanzania is at the bottom of the UN agency UNDP’s index of human development in the countries of the world. The life expectancy is low for the Tanzanians. A common cause of death is AIDS. The region around Lake Victoria and Lake Tanganyika has long been one of the centers of the AIDS epidemic in Africa, but the proportion of HIV infected in Tanzania has dropped to 4.5 percent in the 15-49 age group. In Zanzibar, the figure is significantly lower. Tanzania has been fighting the AIDS epidemic in collaboration with the UN and is offering brake medication to, among others, HIV-infected pregnant women.

Over ten million Tanzanians die from malaria every year, and about 70,000 die, most pregnant women and children under five. Medication of infants has reduced the number of malaria cases. Tuberculosis (TB), amoebic dysentery and diphtheria are also common diseases. Infant mortality has dropped significantly since the turn of the millennium and is now lower than in most other countries at Tanzania’s development level.

Village and family life

The relationships within the family determine the rights and obligations of the individual. What this means varies between the many ethnic groups. Almost all groups distinguish between kinship through the father and through the mother. The vast majority attach greater importance to the father line than the mother line. Exceptions are some groups in southeastern Tanzania, such as makonde and yao.

Society is male dominated with a subordinate position for women. Outside of the villages, it is common for women to both work in the fields and take care of the family, while political life is dominated by men. The constitution’s ban on discrimination against women is lifted by respecting traditional Muslim law (Sharia). For example, women’s right to land and inheritance is abolished in villages where Islamic law is applied. Polygamy and bride price occur. Some ethnic groups apply female genital mutilation. Many women have been murdered in brutal forms since being accused of witchcraft.

In 2019, the age limit for marriage for girls was increased from 15 years to 18 years. Already in 2016, the country’s highest court had ruled that child marriage for girls was sex discrimination since the age limit for men was already 18 years old. The state appealed against the verdict but the appeal was rejected. Two out of five Tanzanian girls get married before the age of 18, according to official statistics. As a result, many girls miss out on education and risk being subjected to violence and sexual abuse.

In Tanzania, it is common for teenage girls who become pregnant to be forced to quit school, a practice supported by the Magufuli government. According to the UN, 27 percent of all Tanzanian girls aged 15 to 19 are pregnant, mainly because of widespread sexual violence and poverty, which forces the girls to sex for food, school fees or roof overhead. About 5,500 pregnant girls in Tanzania drop out of school each year, according to the World Bank.

It is estimated that there are over three million orphans in Tanzania. Many of them run the risk of ending up in prostitution or child labor.

Sexual intercourse between men is prohibited and can be punished with life imprisonment. The general attitude towards LGBTQ people is hostile or negative and they are usually forced to conceal their sexual orientation.

The situation of LGBT people

Under President Magufuli from 2015, Tanzania has become increasingly intolerant of LGBTQ rights issues. The President has threatened to deregister organizations working to strengthen the rights of LGBT people and arrest anyone who participates in campaigns for this purpose. Foreign citizens working for increased LGBTQ rights should be expelled.

READ TIP – read more about Tanzania in UI’s web magazine Foreign
magazine : Money in hand can help poor people break vicious circle (2019-02-06)


Infant Mortality: 38 per 1000 births (2018)

Percentage of HIV infected: 4.6 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young women

2.2 percent (2018)

Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 1.2 percent (2018)

Proportion of population with access to clean water: 50.1 percent (2015)

Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 29.9 percent (2017)

Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 6.1 percent (2015)

Public expenditure on health care per person: $ 35 (2016)

Proportion of women in parliament: 37 percent (2018)



CUF blows boycott

The opposition party CUF cancels its boycott of Zanzibar’s parliament (see October 2005).


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CCM wins a landslide victory in the local elections. According to official data, the government party gets 93.7 percent of the vote.