Mauritania ranks among the least developed countries in the world with widespread chronic poverty among the nomadic herders, subsistence farmers, and the unemployed urban masses. Poverty is manifested not only in low income but also in limited access to basic services such as safe water, health care, and education. In 1990, it was estimated that 57 percent of the population lived below the poverty line and the country's Gini index (measuring economic equality, with 0 standing for perfect equality and 100 for perfect inequality) was close to 39, lower than the one in the United States but higher than in Europe. With the lowest 10 percent of earners responsible for 0.7 percent of the consumption and the highest 10 percent for 30.4 percent in 1988, Mauritania is still more equal than many of its African neighbors. The inflation rate was 9.8 percent in 1998. The country is heavily dependent on foreign aid and poverty reduction programs while corruption creates some large illicit fortunes. Economic inequality adds to interethnic and intertribal tension to
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Mauritania|
|Survey year: 1995|
|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].|
produce a very low level of human development, according to United Nations sources.