Using the exchange rate conversion, the GDP per head was around US$175 in 1999, with the purchasing power parity conversion (which allows for the low price of many basic commodities in Liberia) setting the GDP per head at around US$1,000. Both these measures place Liberia among the poorest 20 or so countries in the world. It was estimated in 1999 that 80 percent of Liberia's population was living below the poverty line, most of them engaged in subsistence agriculture, farming small plots of land.
Before the war there were 1,635 schools, 8,804 teachers, and 303,168 pupils. Primary and secondary education was free, though only 50 percent of the primary school age groups attended school. Although most education provision broke down during the war, new efforts to rehabilitate schools and pay wages to teachers have brought about some recovery. The adult literacy is still low at 48 percent, compared to the sub-Saharan average of 58 percent.
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|Note: Data are estimates.|
|SOURCE: Handbook of the Nations , 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th editions for 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999 data; CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online] for 2000 data.|
Life expectancy at birth was 41 years in 1960, 39 during the war, and 47 in the post-war period. Infant mortality stands at 194 per 1,000 live births (as compared with 7 per 1,000 in the United States). The good health care and nutrition levels of the pre-war period have fallen, and disease is rife. In 1995 clean water was available to 79 percent of urban dwellers and 13 percent of rural dwellers, and sanitation was available to 56 percent of urban dwellers. About half the pre-war medical centers have been rehabilitated since the war.