the Burundian gross domestic product (GDP) is only a tenth that of U.S. state Vermont, and Burundi has one of the lowest per-capita GDPs in the world. A consistently negative budget balance feeds a growing national debt, in spite of considerable debt relief in 2004 through the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The inflation rate also jumped in 2017, though a correction was projected in the following year. Unemployment and youth unemployment are both quite low, perhaps because of the rural nature of the economy.
In spite of its lack of major cities, Burundi has a surprisingly high population density. Life expectancy is also higher than expected, though it is not growing as quickly as in other countries in the region. Infant mortality, on the other hand, has declined rather rapidly in the past decade, indicating that medical infrastructure in Burundi is improving. Physical infrastructure is also improving, and telecoms are gaining a foothold in the country. In 2017, there were roughly 55 mobile cellular subscriptions per hundred Burundians. Positive changes are beginning to take hold, but the country still has a long time until the standard of living matches that of the developed world.