The vast majority of Nigeriens rely on subsistence agriculture and the region’s frequent droughts lead to poor harvests and regular food shortages. Chronic food insecurity and infectious disease have resulted in some of the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality in the world. As of January 2015, United Nations estimates placed Niger’s food-insecure population at nearly 3.4 million people. Over 40 percent of Nigerien children under 5 years old are chronically malnourished and the country’s 14.8 percent rate of global acute malnutrition exceeds the World Health Organization’s threshold of serious concern of 10 percent.
Niger consistently ranks at or near the bottom of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index. Chronic food insecurity and infectious disease have resulted in some of the highest rates of malnutrition and mortality in the world. Over forty percent of children under five are chronically malnourished and the rates of acute malnutrition are well beyond the threshold for public health emergencies. In addition, Niger has the highest fertility rate in the world. Left unchecked, Niger’s rapid population growth will further undermine health service delivery and weaken the resilience of the most vulnerable populations.
Last updated: March 21, 2016