Swaziland is a lower middle-income country, with a GDP per capita in 2000 of US$4,000 using the purchasing power parity conversion factor (which makes allowance for the low price of certain basic commodities in Swaziland). There are no figures for the incidence of poverty, but the number of under-weight children would suggest around 14 percent below the dollar-a-day poverty line. Most of those in poverty obtain their livelihoods from the agriculture sector, and they do not have enough income to provide the barest minimums of food, clothing, and shelter. Income is very unequally distributed, with the poorest 20 percent receiving 2.7 percent of total income in 1998, and the richest 20 percent receiving 64 percent. The poorest groups in the rural areas live in traditional dwellings with timber frames and mud walls, thatched roofing, and a beaten earth or polished cow dung floor. Water comes from a well, sanitation is by pit latrine, cooking is done over a wood fire, and lighting comes from a kerosene lamp.
The poor in the urban areas live in shanty dwellings constructed from timber, plastic sheeting, cardboard and
|GDP per Capita (US$)|
|SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.|
|Distribution of Income or Consumption by Percentage Share: Swaziland|
|Survey year: 1994|
|Note: This information refers to income shares by percentiles of the population and is ranked by per capita income.|
|SOURCE: 2000 World Development Indicators [CD-ROM].|
rusty scrap metal sheets. Water is obtained from a communal tap, sanitation is by pit latrine, cooking is done over charcoal, and kerosene lamps provide light. The wealthier groups live in modern houses with cement block walls and tin roofs, with electricity, piped water, and either a sewage system or a septic tank.
The UN's Human Development Index, which combines measures of income, health, and education, put Swaziland at 112 out of 174 countries in 1998, and this placed it in the medium human development category, one of the few African countries to achieve this status. Thus Swaziland has a level of development with relatively few of its population in poverty (more than 50 percent are in poverty in some countries), and has good basic education provisions, with 95 percent of children in primary school and 85 percent in secondary school, and sound health facilities which allow a life expectancy of 60 years (in the rest of Africa it is 49 years).