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People and Society






Settlement of freed slaves from the US in what is today Liberia began in 1822; by 1847, the Americo-Liberians were able to establish a republic. William TUBMAN, president from 1944-71, did much to promote foreign investment and to bridge the economic, social, and political gaps between the descendents of the original settlers and the inhabitants of the interior. In 1980, a military coup led by Samuel DOE ushered in a decade of authoritarian rule. In December 1989, Charles TAYLOR launched a rebellion against DOE's regime that led to a prolonged civil war in which DOE himself was killed. A period of relative peace in 1997 allowed for elections that brought TAYLOR to power, but major fighting resumed in 2000. An August 2003 peace agreement ended the war and prompted the resignation of former president Charles TAYLOR, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague related to his involvement in Sierra Leone's civil war. After two years of rule by a transitional government, democratic elections in late 2005 brought President Ellen JOHNSON SIRLEAF to power. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country, but the security situation is still fragile and the process of rebuilding the social and economic structure of this war-torn country continues.


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People And Society

Noun Liberian(s)
Adjective Liberian

Ethnic groups
Kpelle 20.3%, Bassa 13.4%, Grebo 10%, Gio 8%, Mano 7.9%, Kru 6%, Lorma 5.1%, Kissi 4.8%, Gola 4.4%, other 20.1% (2008 Census)

English 20% (official), some 20 ethnic group languages few of which can be written or used in correspondence

Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4% (2008 Census)

Population World Ranking: 127
3,887,886 (July 2012 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years
44.3% (male 843,182/female 834,922)
15-64 years
52.7% (male 989,623/female 1,007,577)
65 years and over
2.9% (male 56,189/female 55,271) (2011 est.)

Median age
Total 18.2 years
Male 18 years
Female 18.3 years (2012 est.)

Population growth rate World Ranking: 23
2.609% (2012 est.)

Birth rate World Ranking: 22
36.45 births/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Death rate World Ranking: 46
10.36 deaths/1,000 population (July 2012 est.)

Net migration rate World Ranking: 94
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2012 est.)

Urban population 48% of total population (2010)
Rate of urbanization
3.4% annual rate of change (2010-15 est.)

Major cities - population
MONROVIA (capital) 882,000 (2009)

Sex ratio
At birth 1.03 male(s)/female
Under 15 years 1.01 male(s)/female
15-64 years 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over 1.01 male(s)/female
Total population 1 male(s)/female (2011 est.)

Maternal mortality rate World Ranking: 7
770 deaths/100,000 live births (2010)

Infant mortality rate World Ranking: 18
Total 72.71 deaths/1,000 live births
Male 77.08 deaths/1,000 live births
68.2 deaths/1,000 live births (2012 est.)

Life expectancy at birth World Ranking: 193
Total population 57.41 years
Male 55.82 years
Female 59.04 years (2012 est.)

Total fertility rate World Ranking: 20
5.02 children born/woman (2012 est.)

Health expenditures World Ranking: 164
3.9% of GDP (2009)

Physicians density
0.014 physicians/1,000 population (2008)

Hospital bed density
0.7 beds/1,000 population (2009)

Hiv/aids - adult prevalence rate World Ranking: 36
1.5% (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - people living with hiv/aids World Ranking: 63
37,000 (2009 est.)

Hiv/aids - deaths World Ranking: 44
3,600 (2009 est.)

Major infectious diseases
Degree of risk Very high
Food or waterborne diseases
Bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
Vectorborne diseases Malaria and yellow fever
Water contact disease Schistosomiasis
Aerosolized dust or soil contact disease Lassa fever
Animal contact disease Rabies (2009)

Children under the age of 5 years underweight World Ranking: 35
20.4% (2007)

Education expenditures World Ranking: 144
2.7% of GDP (2008)

Age 15 and over can read and write
Total population 60.8%
Male 64.8%
Female 56.8% (2010 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)
Total 11 years
Male 13 years
Female 9 years (2000)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 World Ranking: 123
Total 4.7%
Male 5.7%
Female 3.7% (2007)


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