Quality of Life Comparison


If you lived in South Africa instead of Mauritania, you would:


be 62.7 times more likely to be living with HIV/AIDS

In Mauritania, 0.3% of people are living with AIDS/HIV. In South Africa, that number is 18.8% of people.

be 2.2 times more likely to be obese

In Mauritania, 12.7% of adults are obese. In South Africa, that number is 28.3% of people.


make 3.1 times more money

Mauritania has a GDP per capita of $4,400, while in South Africa, the GDP per capita is $13,500.

be 46.5% less likely to be live below the poverty line

In Mauritania, 31.0% live below the poverty line. In South Africa, however, that number is 16.6%.

be 2.4 times more likely to be unemployed

In Mauritania, 11.7% of adults are unemployed. In South Africa, that number is 27.6%.

spend 12.5% more on taxes

Mauritania has a top tax rate of 40.0%. In South Africa, the top tax rate is 45.0%.


be 77.1% less likely to die during childbirth

In Mauritania, approximately 602.0 women per 100,000 births die during labor. In South Africa, 138.0 women do.

be 81.2% more likely to be literate

In Mauritania, the literacy rate is 52.1%. In South Africa, it is 94.4%.

be 40.3% less likely to die during infancy

In Mauritania, approximately 51.9 children die before they reach the age of one. In South Africa, on the other hand, 31.0 children do.

have 33.6% fewer children

In Mauritania, there are approximately 30.4 babies per 1,000 people. In South Africa, there are 20.2 babies per 1,000 people.

Basic Needs

be 3.0 times more likely to have access to electricity

In Mauritania, 28% of people have electricity access (47% in urban areas, and 2% in rural areas). In South Africa, that number is 85% of people on average (90% in urban areas, and 77% in rural areas).

be 3.0 times more likely to have internet access

In Mauritania, approximately 18.0% of the population has internet access. In South Africa, about 54.0% do.

be 61.0% more likely to have access to improved drinking water

In Mauritania, approximately 58% of people have improved drinking water access (58% in urban areas, and 57% in rural areas). In South Africa, that number is 93% of people on average (100% in urban areas, and 81% in rural areas).


spend 2.3 times more on education

Mauritania spends 2.6% of its total GDP on education. South Africa spends 5.9% of total GDP on education.

spend 2.3 times more on healthcare

Mauritania spends 3.8% of its total GDP on healthcare. In South Africa, that number is 8.8% of GDP.


see 3.7 times more coastline

Mauritania has a total of 754 km of coastline. In South Africa, that number is 2,798 km.

South Africa: At a glance

South Africa (sometimes abbreviated RSA) is a sovereign country in Africa, with a total land area of approximately 1,214,470 sq km. Dutch traders landed at the southern tip of modern day South Africa in 1652 and established a stopover point on the spice route between the Netherlands and the Far East, founding the city of Cape Town. After the British seized the Cape of Good Hope area in 1806, many of the Dutch settlers (the Boers) trekked north to found their own republics. The discovery of diamonds (1867) and gold (1886) spurred wealth and immigration and intensified the subjugation of the native inhabitants. The Boers resisted British encroachments but were defeated in the Second Anglo Boer War (1899-1902); however, the British and the Afrikaners, as the Boers became known, ruled together beginning in 1910 under the Union of South Africa, which became a republic in 1961 after a whites-only referendum. In 1948, the National Party was voted into power and instituted a policy of apartheid - the separate development of the races - which favored the white minority at the expense of the black majority. The African National Congress (ANC) led the opposition to apartheid and many top ANC leaders, such as Nelson MANDELA, spent decades in South Africa's prisons. Internal protests and insurgency, as well as boycotts by some Western nations and institutions, led to the regime's eventual willingness to negotiate a peaceful transition to majority rule. The first multi-racial elections in 1994 brought an end to apartheid and ushered in majority rule under an ANC-led government. South Africa since then has struggled to address apartheid-era imbalances in decent housing, education, and health care. ANC infighting, which has grown in recent years, came to a head in September 2008 when President Thabo MBEKI resigned, and Kgalema MOTLANTHE, the party's General-Secretary, succeeded him as interim president. Jacob ZUMA became president after the ANC won general elections in April 2009. National presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for May 2014.

How big is South Africa compared to Mauritania? See an in-depth size comparison.

The statistics on this page were calculated using the following data sources: The World Factbook, Ministry of Finance, South African Revenue Service.


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