Life in The Gambia

The Gambia a small fragile country in West Africa, is one of the poorest countries in the world, ranked 173rd out of 185 countries in 2019 by USA Today.

With a population of 2.1 million (2016) it is one of the most densely populated countries in Africa. Most of the population (57%) is concentrated around urban and peri-urban centers.  

The Gambia’s small economy relies primarily on tourism, rain-dependent agriculture and remittances, and is vulnerable to external shocks. 



Mortality facts:

  • Average life expectancy at birth is 61.4 years

  • One in every 29 children die before their first birthday

  • One in every 19 children die before their fifth birthday

  • Approximately 8% of children under the age of 18 years are orphaned with one or both parents not living


Living Conditions:

  • 63% of households use shared toilet facilities 

  • 25% of households cook outside

  • 54% of households still collect water on a daily basis and over 20% of households living in rural areas travel 30 minutes or more (round trip) to obtain drinking water 

  • 55% households have access to electricity, but....only 13% of rural homes have electricity


Personal hygiene facts:

•  81% of households have only water and no soap

•  39% of households have either no soap or water 

•  13% of households have no water, soap, or cleansing agent

Height and weight status of children:

•  12% of children are wasted

•. 16% of children are underweight

•. 4% of children are severely underweight 

•. Rural children are more likely to be underweight (21%) than urban children (11%)

•. Only 3% of children are overweight

•  26% of male children are stunted and 23% of female children