The Gambia - Poverty and wealth

The Gambia is classified as one of the least developed countries and is a low-income country. Real GNP per capita growth in the 1990-97 period averaged-0.6 percent a year, so average living standards were falling.

In 1999 it was estimated that 57 percent of the population were below the US$1 per day poverty line. The families in poverty do not have enough income to provide the barest minimum of food, shelter, and clothing. Most of those in poverty are rural families relying on small-scale family farms for their livelihoods, and unable to increase their incomes as they are unable to afford investments in mechanization, fertilizers, insecticides, and

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Gambia 356 376 378 374 353
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Nigeria 301 314 230 258 256
Guinea-Bissau 226 168 206 223 173
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Gambia
Lowest 10% 1.5
Lowest 20% 4.4
Second 20% 9.0
Third 20% 13.5
Fourth 20% 20.4
Highest 20% 52.8
Highest 10% 37.6
Survey year: 1992
Note: This information refers to expenditure shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita expenditure.
SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].

improved seeds that would boost their output. In the main towns, electricity and the piped water supply is generally available, but in the rural areas it is rare, and lighting is by small paraffin lamps with wicks, and water is from wells. Some mains and septic tank sewage disposal are available in the capital, but in the rural areas people rely mainly on pit latrines.

The UN's Human Development Index, which combines income, health, and education indicators, places the Gambia at 161 out of 174 countries in 1998, putting Gambia firmly in the low development category.

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