Infant mortality was estimated to be 60 per 1,000 live births in 2000. At that time, the average Eritrean woman who lived through her childbearing years had 5.4 children. Of all children under five years of age, 38% were malnourished. As of 2002, the estimated crude birth rate of 42.2 per 1,000 people was higher than the crude death rate of 11.8. From 1974 to 1991, Eritrea was at war with Ethiopia, with no figures on war-related deaths available. In 2000, 46% of the population had access to safe drinking water and only 13% had adequate sanitation. Average life expectancy was 52 years in 2000.
The immunization rates for children under one year old in 1997 were as follows: diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, 60%; polio, 60%; measles, 53%, and tuberculosis, 67%. There were 6,000 deaths of children under five years old of diarrheal diseases in 1995. Goiter appeared in 22% of all school-age children in 1996.
At the end of 2001 the number of people living with HIV/AIDS was estimated at 55,000 (including 2.8% of the adult population) and deaths from AIDS that year were estimated at 350. HIV prevalence in 1999 was 2.87 per 100 adults.