Liberia - Statistics & Facts

Liberia is located on the West African coast on the Atlantic Ocean. Sierra Leone is located to the west, Guinea to the north and the Ivory Coast to the east. Liberia is actually the oldest republic in Africa and has a large indigenous population. In the 1990s, Liberia was engaged in a long and deadly civil war which ended in 2003, and from which the country is still trying to recover. In 2005, the country elected its first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who was again reelected in 2011. That same year she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts to secure peace and promote economic and social development within Liberia. However, despite her efforts, some say that little progress has been made. The recent Ebola outbreak also took a large economic and demographic toll on Liberia with thousands dead or infected.

Liberia is slowly urbanizing and approaching a 50/50 split between rural and urban settlements . The largest city and capital is Monrovia, which is home to over 1 million people; slightly less than one quarter of the country’s total population. Other Liberian cities are much smaller by comparison. Overall, the population of Liberia is growing rapidly and the fertility rate, while decreasing, is still extraordinarily high at around 4.65 children per woman as of 2015. The average age of the population as of 2015 was 18.6 years old, which really has not changed much since the 1950s, despite a slight increase in life expectancy.

The economy faced significant challenges during the Ebola outbreak, which devastated the country. In 2014, the annual GDP growth rate dropped from close to 9 percent in 2013 to less than 1 percent in 2014. In 2015, the budget balance in relation to GDP also reduced significantly from around -2 percent in 2014 to -10 percent in 2015. GDP per capita also decreased between 2013 and 2016 (460186) and was as low as around 474 U.S. dollars per capita as of 2015; a dire situation for many Liberians. Despite significant reductions in GDP growth during the Ebola outbreak, the annual GDP growth rate is expected to recover by 2020 and remain relatively high. In an effort to improve conditions, further stabilizing the economy, improving healthcare, as well as reducing the fertility rate will be necessary.

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