macrohistory & world report

Republic of Liberia

Map of Liberia amid its neighbors

Liberia amid its neighbors

World Factbook as of November 2014: "Liberia is a low income country that relies heavily on foreign assistance. Civil war and government mismanagement destroyed much of Liberia's economy, especially the infrastructure in and around the capital, Monrovia. Many businesses fled the country, taking capital and expertise with them, but with the conclusion of fighting and the installation of a democratically elected government in 2006, several have returned. Liberia is richly endowed with water, mineral resources, forests, and a climate favorable to agriculture, and iron ore and rubber have driven growth in recent years. Liberia is also reviving its raw timber sector and is encouraging oil exploration. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Harvard-educated banker and administrator, has taken steps to reduce corruption, build support from international donors, and encourage private investment. Rebuilding infrastructure and raising incomes will depend on financial and technical assistance from donor countries and foreign investment in key sectors, such as infrastructure and power generation. The country achieved high growth during 2010-13 due to favorable world prices for its commodities. In the future, growth will depend on global commodity prices, on sustained foreign aid, trade, investment, and remittances, on the development of infrastructure and institutions, but mostly on maintaining political stability and security."

Economic growth rate
2013: 8.1%
2012: 8.3%
2011: 7.9%

Labor force in agriculture
2000: 70%


July 2014: 4.01 million
July 2011: 3.79 million

Population growth rate:
2014: 2.52%, 29th among 233 countries

Births / Deaths
2014: 35.07 / 9.9 (estimated before the ebola crisis)

Infant mortality (deaths before the age of one year per 1,000 live births)
2014: 69.19 deaths, 15th among 224 countries
2011: 74.52 deaths
2005: 128.87

Average life expectancy at birth
2014: 58.21
2011: 57 years

Living in an urban area
2010: 48%

Density estimated in 2005: 36 persons per square kilometer.

Ethnic groups
2008 census: 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: Christian 85.6%, Muslim 12.2%, Traditional 0.6%, other 0.2%, none 1.4%

Literancy (age 15 and older)
2003: males 73.3%, females 41.6%


Western Africa, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean, between Cote d'Ivoire and Sierra Leone. 579 kilometers of coastline. Tropical, hot and humid. Slightly larger in area than Tennessee.


The president is elected by popular vote for a six-year term and elligble for a second term. Legislature is bicamera: the Senate with 30 members and the House of Representtives with 64 members. Members are elected by popular vote; senators for nine-year terms, house members of six-year terms.

Capital: Monrovia.

Recent History

October 31, 2014: In August, streets in Liberia's capital, Monrovia, were strewn with bodies, and emergency Ebola clinics were turning away patients. Today, according to the Los Angeles Times, public health expert Helen Epstein has described half of the beds in those treatment centers are empty and that she sees no bodies are in the streets.

In late 2005, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf is elected president. She is a new hope for those who want democracy and peace for Liberia. She assumes office on January 16, 2006. The UN Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) maintains a strong presence throughout the country.

November 14, 2005: "There's no running water in Monrovia or anywhere else in Liberia; there's no electricity, except that which is provided by generators; there's no land line telephones; there's no sewage system and the road system is completely decrepit."  Mike McGovern International Crisis Group.

An August 2003 peace agreement ends Liberia's war. Taylor faces war crimes charges.

2000: Fighting resumes.

1997: Charles Taylor elected president.

December 1989, Charles Taylor launches a rebellion against Doe's regime that leads to a prolonged civil war in which Does is killed.

1847: Settlement of freed slaves from the US becomes an independent republic. 1980, a military coup led by Samuel Doe begins a decade of authoritarian rule.

The World Factbook

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