A Snapshot of Southern Sudan around 2009 – How Much Have Things Changed?


The following material is reproduced with permission from “Situation Analysis of Nutrition in Southern Sudan: Analysis Based on June 2009 Assessment” by Mija-tesse Ververs for the Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance II Project (FANTA-2). See Table 1 page 6 “Selected Population Statistics in Southern Sudan” for full details and references. To download the report, go to


  • About 8.3 million people lived in Southern Sudan in 2008 (48 percent female, 52 percent male).
  • 20 percent of household members are children under 5 years.
  • 72 percent of the population is under age 30.
  • The average household size is about 7.4 people.
  • The average household size of returnees is smaller, 4.5 people.


  • More than 90 percent of the population lives on less than US$1 per day.


Food Insecurity

  • Between 1.3 million and 1.9 million people, or 16–23 percent of the population, have been food-insecure every year since 2005.

Maternal Health

  • The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is 2,054 per 100,000 live births.
  • One of seven women who become pregnant will die due to pregnancy-related causes.
  • On average, only 10 percent of the women deliver their babies with skilled health staff.
  • The case fatality rate of women delivering in health facilities is 11,062 per 100,000 live births.
  • The total fertility rate is 6.7 children.
  • Less than 2 percent of women use modern contraception.

Child Health

  • The infant mortality rate (IMR) is 102 per 1,000 live births.
  • The under-5 mortality rate (U5MR) is 135 per 1,000 live births.
  • About 20 percent of infants under 6 months are breastfed exclusively.
  • About 55 percent of children 6–9 months receive timely complementary feeding.



  • 17 percent of children are fully vaccinated.
  • 28 percent of children receive measles vaccination before their first birthday.



  • Malaria is considered hyper-endemic, accounting for more than 40 percent of all health facility visits.



  • In 2007, HIV prevalence was estimated at 3.1 percent, but is increasing.
  • Less than 10 percent of women aged 15–49 know about HIV prevention.


Water and Sanitation 

  • 1 percent of the population has access to improved drinking water.
  • 6.4 percent of the population uses improved sanitation facilities.
  • About 40 percent of children under 5 had diarrhoea in the 2 weeks before their caregivers were surveyed.



  • Less than 50 percent of children receive 5 years of primary school education.
  • In 2006, 55 percent of primary school-age children attended school.
  • 1.9 percent  of the population complete primary school education.
  • There is one teacher for every 1,000 primary school students.
  • 15 percent of adults are literate.



  • 8 percent of women are literate, and 16 percent of young women (age 15–24) are literate.
  • 36% percent of girls age 7–9 attend primary school.
  • A 15-year-old girl has a higher chance of dying in childbirth than completing school.
  • 18 percent of women 15–49 years were first married or in a union by age 15.