The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) has released its first Demographic and Health Survey as part of the worldwide Demographic and Health Surveys program.

The main objective of the survey was to provide comprehensive data on fertility and mortality, family planning, maternal and child health and nutrition, as well as information on maternal mortality and domestic violence. The survey also provides household-based data on the prevalence of malaria and HIV, two of the most life-threatening infectious diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.

The 2013 Gambia Demographic and Health Survey (GDHS) was conducted by the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the National Population Secretariat Commission.

The survey covers a nationally representative sample and was designed to produce estimates of the major survey variables at the national, urban and rural areas, and Local Government Area levels (Banjul municipality, Kanifing municipality, Brikama, Mansakonko, Kerewan, Kuntaur, Janjanbureh, and Basse). A total of 6,217 households were contacted during the survey. In these households, 10,233 women age 15-49 and 3,821 men age 15-59 were interviewed.

The following key findings were made in respect of the housing characteristics and household population:

  • Ninety-one percent of households in The Gambia use an improved

source of drinking water.

  • Thirty-seven percent of households in The Gambia use improved toilet

facilities that are not shared with other households.

  • Forty-five percent of households have access to electricity, with a large

disparity between urban and rural areas (66 percent and 13 percent,


  • Ninety-one percent of households use solid fuel for cooking.
  • More than seven in ten children under age 5 (72 percent) have been

registered with civil authorities and more than half (57 percent) have a

birth certificate.

  • Approximately 8 percent of children under age 18 are orphaned (that is,

one or both parents are not living).

  • Fifty-two percent of females and 43 percent of males age 6 and older

have never attended school.

The key findings of the demographic and socioeconomic profile of the respondents interviewed in the 2013 GDHS, that is, women and men age 15-49 are as follows:

  • Sixty-six percent of women and 38 percent of men are married, while 5

percent of women and 1 percent of men are divorced, separated, or


  • Forty-seven percent of women have no education, as compared with 31

percent of men.

  • A large majority of the respondents (96 percent of both women and men)

are Muslims.

  • The majority of the respondents are members of the Mandinka/Jahanka

ethnic group (34 percent of women and 35 percent of men), followed by

the Fula/Tukulur/Lorobo ethnic group (22 percent of women and 23

percent of men).

  • Literacy rates are 45 percent for women and 70 percent for men.
  • Thirty percent of women and 16 percent of men do not have weekly

access to newspapers, television, or a radio.

  • Ten percent of women working in agriculture are not paid.
  • Twenty-two percent of men age 15-49 use tobacco products.

See the next edition for more on the Democratic and Health Survey.