LISGIS Report: Half of Liberians Live in Abject Poverty

Mr. Wreh

Maryland County the poorest

Liberia Institute for Statistics and Geo-information Services (LISGIS) latest household, expenditure and income survey report released on Tuesday revealed that half of the country’s population live in abject poverty or is extremely poor.

The survey, which was conducted in 2016, but released this year, considered Maryland County as the poorest of the 15 counties.

The LISGIS report categorized poverty as absolute poverty with percentage of 50.9 percent; food poverty at 39.1 percent, and extreme poverty at 16.5 percent respectively.

The report also indicates that 51.2 percent of Liberian households show food shortages, with urban areas at 44 percent and rural ones at 59 percent.

LISGIS Director General Frances Wreh added that female-headed households face more food shortage (54.6 percent) commonly than male-headed households with 49.9 percent.

“Under education 64.7 percent of the country’s population are literate with the urban population accumulating 78.1 percent, while rural areas have a percentage of 47.0 percent. The Literacy rate by gender shows that more males of 77.0 percent are literate as compared to the females of 54.0 percent.

As for under age ratio, there are more young people who are literate than older ones and unemployment stands at 3.9 percent, which shows that Liberia has a low unemployment rate.

“However, 79.5 percent are placed under the category of vulnerable employment, while 79.9 percent are placed under informal employment,“ Mr. Wreh said.

Meanwhile, Wreh has said that private sector remains the highest employer through which 64.9 percent have benefited, while the government employs 19.5 percent of the country’s estimated 4.5 million population, and other employers (not specified) picked 15.6 percent respectively.

Mr. Wreh added that 63.2 percent of the country’s  4.5 million people visit government-run health facilities, while 23.6 percent goes to private hospitals and clinics.

“The average household size is estimated to be 4.3 people per household, with Maryland County having the highest household size, while Gbarpolu County holds the lowest.

Also, 44.5 percent of the country’s population is under the age of 15 years, which makes the age dependency ratio as high as 89.9 percent nationally, but 51.1 percent of the 4.5 million people are females and 48.9 percent are males,” the survey added.



  1. Thanks for the report on 64.7 literacy for Liberia. How can you say this figure is literate when someone who is a college or high graduate reads at the level of 2nd Grade or 3rd grade? If someone who is either in high school or a high school graduate who does not know the parts of a friendly or business letters, is this literacy? Recently I asked some high school-12 graders to name the parts of a business letter. These were the parts named: heading, inside address, outside address …….. Is this the literacy rate you are talking about?

    • 3.9 peecent unemployment rate is very encouraging. Mr. Wreh did you write same under duress. They dont take pay for months. This paints a picture of another country. Was this report prepared to appease the international stakeholders? This report does represent what is obtaining on the ground.


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