The north of the country and rural regions are particularly affected. A large proportion of Togo's people have no reliable access to safe drinking water, and very few households have adequate sanitation.
About one fifth of the people are malnourished. Some 70 per cent of all under-five-year-olds are anaemic. The health system is weak, and maternal and child mortality is high. Nearly 40 per cent of adults are illiterate.
Rapid population growth
Togo's population has more than doubled over the past three decades (from 3.8 million in 1990 to 8.1 million in 2019). It is expected that its population will double again over the next 30 years. Stable economic growth in recent years notwithstanding, the young generation has poor prospects of finding jobs. Unemployment and underemployment are a huge potential source of social conflict.
Situation of women
Officially, women in Togo enjoy equal rights, and they are very active in public life, especially trade. However, they are barely represented in political bodies, as traditional patriarchal thinking is still deeply rooted in politics and society. Great progress has been made in the fight against female genital mutilation: in November 2012, Togo announced the official abolition of this cruel practice.