Comoros - Poverty and wealth

With the low price of basic commodities in Comoros taken into account, per capita GDP was estimated at

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Comoros N/A 499 544 516 403
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
South Africa 4,574 4,620 4,229 4,113 3,918
Mauritius 1,531 1,802 2,151 2,955 4,034
SOURCE : United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

$1,398 ( purchasing power parity (PPP), 1998 est.). By 2000, the World Factbook estimated that the GDP per capita (PPP) had sunk to US$720. Together with a life expectancy of 60 years, an adult literacy rate of 80 percent, and an enrollment ratio in all levels of education of 39 percent, Comoros was placed by the United Nations (UN) in the group of countries with medium human development. Comoros, however, is close to the bottom of the ranking of those in this group.

There are no figures for the percentage of the population below the dollar-a-day poverty line, which is defined as not having enough income to provide the barest minimum of food, shelter, and clothing. The indicator for children judged underweight at age 5 would suggest that around 30 percent of the population are below the poverty line. Most of those in poverty are members of rural families who must rely on small-scale family farms for their livelihoods. These families are unable to increase their incomes as they are unable to afford investments in mechanization, fertilizers, insecticides, and improved seeds that would boost their output. Even in the main towns, electricity and the piped water supply is erratic. In the rural areas electricity and plumbing are practically nonexistent; lighting is by small paraffin lamps with wicks, and water is obtained from wells. There is some septic tank sewage disposal in the towns, but in the rural areas people rely on pit latrines.

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