Latest demographic and health survey reveals interesting stats


Aisha Tamba

The Gambia Bureau of Statistics yesterday launched the Demographic and Health Survey 2019-20, eight years since the first DHS was made.

About 11,865 women aged 15-49 and men aged 15-59 in 6,549 households in the country were successfully interviewed.


The report indicated that the average household size in the country is 8.1 persons with a commendable 95% of households having access to an improved source of drinking water and 66% of households having electricity.

It stated that almost half of women (47%) and two-thirds of men (67%) are literate.

The report showed that since 2013, fertility rate has decreased by more than one child from 5.6 children per woman to 4.4 children per woman.

It stated that women marry ten years earlier than men with 44% of women engaging in sexual activity before age 18.

“Infant and under-5 mortality rates for the 5-year period before the survey are 42 and 56 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively.  The neonatal mortality rate is 29 deaths per 1,000 live births. At these mortality levels, about 1 in 18 children in The Gambia do not survive to their fifth birthday,” the survey indicated.

It reported that while infant and neonatal mortality has increased slightly, child mortality (deaths to children ages 1 and 5) decreased slightly.

In a thumb-up to healthcare workers, the survey revealed that 85% of children age 12 to 23 months have received all basic vaccinations with less than 1% of children receiving no vaccination.

As a result of nutritional deficiency, it noted that 18% of children under five are stunted, with 12% underweight and 2% overweight.

Interestingly, the survey found out that 51% of women and 35% of men agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife for at least one of the following reasons: if she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, or refuses to have sex with him.

It stated that 46% of women have experienced physical violence since age 15 with more violence reported in Upper River Region (57%) compared to North Bank Region (33%).

About 9% of women were subjected to sexual violence with reports of sexual violence highest among women in the capital Banjul. It reported that two-thirds of the women surveyed who were subjected to sexual violence (65%) never sought help.

The latest demographic and health survey also found out that of the women surveyed, 73% have been circumcised and that more than 4 in 10 of women (46%) and men (45%) believe that female genital mutilation should continue.