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Global populations without access to safe water by country 2017

This statistic presents the countries with the highest number of people living without access to safe water worldwide in 2017. Almost 60 million people living in Nigeria had no household access to safe water at this time.

Lacking water access – additional information

The World Health Organization states that 50 liters of water per person per day is the recommended “intermediate” quantity for health, hygiene, and domestic uses. Comparatively, the United States consumed about 1,207 cubic meters of water per capita in total in 2017. For those who have no direct access to water at home, buying water can be a significant burden, and those that cannot afford it often resort to using water from unsafe sources. The main reasons people struggle to access water is due to a lack of money or political priority, ineffective institutions and management regimes, as well as social inequalities.

There are over 163 million people living in India without household access to safe water, a figure higher than many countries have people. Poor management of water resources in India is one of the major problems preventing adequate water access. Aquifers are the main source of water in the country and the use of hand pumps is quickly depleting shallow aquifers. Other countries in Asia, such as Indonesia and Pakistan, have some 32 million and 16 million people, respectively, who also have to go without safe water in their own homes.

Globally, about 63 percent of the population in Papua New Guinea lives without safe water access in their homes. In the capital city, Port Moresby, many people live in areas that are outside of existing water utilities and infrastructure. More extreme weather and rising sea levels will likely lead to more uncertainty and unreliable water supplies.

Countries with the highest number of people living without household access to safe water in 2017

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Release date

March 2018



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Figures for 2017 or the most recent data available.
Figures were rounded.

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Statistics on "Water accessibility worldwide"

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