Special Report

The 10 Least Livable Countries

10. Mozambique
> Human Development Index score: 0.393
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $1,011 (7th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 50.3 years (6th lowest)
> Expected years of schooling: 9.5 years (30th lowest)

Mozambique is one of the world’s least livable countries, with the 10th lowest rating on the 2013 Human Development Index. Mozambique had one of the world’s shortest life expectancies as of last year, at just over 50 years, as well as one of the lowest levels of gross national income per capita, just barely $1,000. Further, the vast majority of adult men and women in the country do not have even some secondary education, while nearly 60% of people lived on $1.25 a day. Still, in recent years, life in Mozambique has improved. Its score on the Human Development Index has increased by nearly 2.5% per year since 2000, among the fastest rates in the world. And although the political situation in the country is concerning, the African Development Bank describes the Mozambique economy as “one of the most dynamic on the continent.”

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9. Guinea
> Human Development Index score: 0.392
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $1,142 (10th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 56.1 years (19th lowest)
> Expected years of schooling: 8.7 years (18th lowest)

The current Ebola outbreak is said to have begun in Guinea this past December. The number of reported Ebola cases rises daily, and over 900 people in the country have died. While Guinea suffers from political instability and a slowing growth rate — GDP growth dropped by nearly half last year — there are signs the economy will recover. Improvements within the country’s agricultural industry and electrical infrastructure, for example, are projected to boost growth next year, according to the African Development Bank. Guinea residents still face considerable challenges. As of 2012, 42% of infants were not immunized against measles, a leading cause of death among children worldwide. And adolescent pregnancy is especially common, with 131 pregnancies per 1,000 women 15-19 years old reported in 2010, a higher rate than in all but a handful of countries reviewed.

8. Burundi
> Human Development Index score: 0.389
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $749 (4th lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 54.1 years (12th lowest)
> Expected years of schooling: 10.1 years (33rd lowest)

Burundians have among the lowest per capita gross incomes in the world, at just $749 in 2013, behind only three other nations. More than 81% of the population of the country lived on less than $1.25 per day, one of the highest rates, and the life expectancy for newborns was among the world’s worst last year. Just 11.5% of the Burundi population lived in an urban area last year, making it the least urbanized country in the world. However, Burundi is still among the most densely populated countries in Africa. According to KfW Development Bank, due to Burundi’s rapidly growing population, “an ever increasing number of people need drinking water, sanitation, electricity, roads, schools and hospitals, yet the state is not able to adequately meet this demand for social infrastructure.”

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7. Burkina Faso
> Human Development Index score: 0.388
> Gross nat’l income per capita: $1,602 (22nd lowest)
> Life expectancy at birth: 56.3 years (20th lowest)
> Expected years of schooling: 7.5 years (7th lowest)

The economy of Burkina Faso is predominantly dependent on agriculture and mining, with cotton and gold among its major exports. Burkina Faso had one of the lowest life expectancies at birth in the world, at just over 56 years as of 2013. Additionally, with a population largely dependant on subsistence agriculture, Burkinabes had a gross national income of just $1,602 per capita last year. As of 2012, adults had an average of just 1.3 years of schooling, the lowest in the world. Children entering school in 2012 could expect to receive just 7.5 years of education, one of the lowest levels in the world. More than 39% of children between the ages of five and 14 worked, one of the highest rates in the world.