Somalia Somalia

Statistical Snapshot



Somalia is a coastal country in Eastern Africa with a population at 15.4 million in 2019. The Somali population is the youngest in the Arab region with 67.2 percent of the total population below the age of 24. Fertility rate is high at 6.1 births per woman.[1] The majority of the population is rural, with 46 percent of the population living in urban areas as of  2019.[2]

The ongoing armed conflict and violence in Somalia following the collapse of the central government in 1991 and the cyclical climatic shocks are the drivers of one of the most challenging and enduring humanitarian crises in the world including repeated waves of traffic famine. Alarming protection and humanitarian distresses in Somalia persist with 5.2 million people requiring humanitarian assistance and protection by the end of 2019, including 3.5 million non-IDPs, 1.7 million people displaced by conflict, floods, droughts and forced evictions, as well as 42,000 asylum seekers and refugees. Furthermore, an estimated 6.3 million Somalis suffer from acute food insecurity and require immediate assistance for their survival, increasing by 36 percent compared to 2018.[3]


One of the world’s most complex and protracted conflicts continues to inflict significant damage to an already weak economy. Economic activity in Somalia centres on the services and agriculture sector, which experienced near full collapse with crop failures, water shortages, and increased livestock mortality. However, Somalia’s economy remained resilient despite drought and sporadic terror attacks. Somalia’s real GDP growth rate reached 2.9 percent in 2019, up from 1.3 percent in 2017, and is forecasted to grow at 3.2 percent in 2020.[4] Despite  increasing growth rate, debt remains at an unsustainable level of 100 percent of GDP in 2018 (about $4.7 billion). The debt burden hampers the government’s capacity to reduce widespread poverty, with 82.2 percent of Somalis considered poor, and 67.5 percent of which live in severe multidimensional poverty, the highest value for Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) among Arab states.[5]


The country is also facing threat from the outbreak of COVID–19. With international flights suspended, entry restriction and closure of learning institutions, the government channeled $5 million for containment.[6] Nonetheless, COVID–19 threatens the already fragile and ill-equipped health system that has been nearly destroyed. According to 2019 numbers, more than 2.4 million Somalis require essential nutrition and healthcare services. Women and children are particularly exposed to high health risks. Somalia has the world’s highest child mortality rate with 1 out of every 7 children dying before the age of five. Somali women suffer from the sixth highest maternal death risk in the world (829 deaths per 100,000 live births) and only 1 of 10 births is attended by skilled health personnel. In addition, Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) prevalence is as high as 98 percent, where 70 percent of which face difficulty accessing appropriate and safe services.[3]


Somalia has one of the world’s lowest school gross enrolment rates with only 30 percent of children enrolled at the primary education level and 26 percent at the secondary level.[7] Around three million children, or more than 60 percent of school aged children in Somalia, are currently out of school.[3]


This overview was last updated in May 2020. Priority is given to the latest available official data published by national statistical offices and/or public institutions.


[1] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2019. World Population Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[2] Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat. 2018. World Urbanization Prospects. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[3] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. 2020. 2020 Somalia Humanitarian Needs Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[4] International Monetary Fund (IMF). April 2020. World Economic Outlook. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[5] United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). 2019. Human development report.  [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[6] The World Bank. 2020. Somalia Overview. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].
[7] The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 2018-2020. Somalia education cluster annual report 2018-2020. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 6 May 2020].

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Data Highlights

  • The under-five years and maternal mortality rates in Somalia are amongst the highest in the world; one out of every seven Somali children dies before reaching 5 years old and the maternal mortality rate was 732 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015 down from 1080 per 100,000 live births in 2000.

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Additional Resources