Madagascar is an island nation located in the Indian Ocean off the southeastern coast of Africa. It has an area of 587,041 square kilometers and a population of approximately 26.5 million people. The ethnic composition of Madagascar is mainly Malagasy, with a small number of French, Indian, Chinese and Comorian people. The majority of the population are Christian, with around half being Roman Catholic and a quarter being Protestant. Education is compulsory for children up to the age of 16 and the literacy rate is around 66%. The official language is Malagasy but French and English are also spoken in certain areas. The capital city Antananarivo has an estimated population of over 1 million people making it the largest city in Madagascar. Check hyperrestaurant to learn more about Madagascar in 2009.
Madagascar is a very poor country. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of MDG and acronym for Madagascar. In 2005, 90 percent of the population was estimated to live in poverty (below $ 2 a day). Since the coup-partition regime change in 2009, the economy and thus living conditions have deteriorated dramatically. Nearly every twenty children die during their first year of life and half the children in the country are malnourished. In rural areas, 70 percent of the population does not have access to clean water (2008); the corresponding figure in the cities is 30 percent.
At the end of the 1970s, the government set the goal that all the country’s residents should have access to health care in 2000. This goal is still far from being achieved. All public health care in Madagascar is basically free of charge, but there are only two doctors (2007) and three hospital beds (2005) per 10,000 residents. Qualified personnel are available at just under half of the births. Due to poor infrastructure in some parts of the country, the situation is even worse there. In 2009, however, 15 percent of public expenditure went to health care. Madagascar is largely spared from HIV/AIDS; less than 1 percent of the population aged 15–49 are estimated to be infected (2009). However, malaria is a major problem. Check to see Madagascar population.