The people of Liberia were severely affected by the civil
wars of 1989-96 and 1999-2003, not least the many who were
forced to flee their homes. In 2007, 95% of the population
lived in poverty (below US $ 2/day). Only more than half
of rural residents have access to clean water. Malnutrition
is also a major problem. Infant mortality (children who died
before the age of one year) was extremely high during and
between wars, averaging close to 130 per 1,000 live births.
In 2016, the corresponding figure was estimated to be 54.
The average life expectancy was around 42 years in the early
1990s, but has now risen to 57 years for men and 61 years
for women (2016).
Health care and welfare systems are only extended to a
limited extent. In 1975, the National Social Security
and Welfare Corporation was formed to administer
pensions, sickness benefits and other social security funds.
In 1987, this body introduced a national pension system as
well as a system for occupational injury insurance. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of LBR and acronym for Liberia.
Access to healthcare is very poor; In 2009, there were
seven hospital beds per 10,000 residents. Since the outbreak
of the civil war in December 1989, health care in Liberia
has been administered mainly by various aid organizations.
The shortage of doctors is acute; In 2009, just over 120
doctors were active in Liberia, of which more than half were
foreigners affiliated with international organizations.
Qualified personnel are available at about half of all
deliveries. Of the total government expenditure in 2009,
health care costs accounted for about 17%.
The incidence of HIV/AIDS increased during the last
civil war, largely because of the many rapes. In recent
years, the trend seems to have turned down again; In 2009,
1.5% of the population aged 15-49 were estimated to be
infected. However, the incidence of tuberculosis is