Quality of Life Comparison


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


be 48.9% less likely to be living with HIV/AIDS

In South Africa, 18.8% of people are living with AIDS/HIV. In Malawi, that number is 9.6% of people.

be 79.5% less likely to be obese

In South Africa, 28.3% of adults are obese. In Malawi, that number is 5.8% of people.

live 2.1 years less

In South Africa, the average life expectancy is 64 years (62 years for men, 65 years for women). In Malawi, that number is 62 years (60 years for men, 64 years for women).


be 26.1% less likely to be unemployed

In South Africa, 27.6% of adults are unemployed. In Malawi, that number is 20.4%.

spend 33.3% less on taxes

South Africa has a top tax rate of 45.0%. In Malawi, the top tax rate is 30.0%.

make 91.1% less money

South Africa has a GDP per capita of $13,500, while in Malawi, the GDP per capita is $1,200.

be 3.1 times more likely to live below the poverty line

In South Africa, 16.6% live below the poverty line. In Malawi, however, that number is 50.7%.


have 2.0 times more children

In South Africa, there are approximately 20.2 babies per 1,000 people. In Malawi, there are 41.0 babies per 1,000 people.

be 4.6 times more likely to die during childbirth

In South Africa, approximately 138.0 women per 100,000 births die during labor. In Malawi, 634.0 women do.

be 34.2% less likely to be literate

In South Africa, the literacy rate is 94.4%. In Malawi, it is 62.1%.

be 40.0% more likely to die during infancy

In South Africa, approximately 31.0 children die before they reach the age of one. In Malawi, on the other hand, 43.4 children do.

Basic Needs

be 89.4% less likely to have access to electricity

In South Africa, 85% of people have electricity access (90% in urban areas, and 77% in rural areas). In Malawi, that number is 9% of people on average (32% in urban areas, and 4% in rural areas).

be 82.2% less likely to have internet access

In South Africa, approximately 54.0% of the population has internet access. In Malawi, about 9.6% do.


spend 20.3% less on education

South Africa spends 5.9% of its total GDP on education. Malawi spends 4.7% of total GDP on education.

spend 29.5% more on healthcare

South Africa spends 8.8% of its total GDP on healthcare. In Malawi, that number is 11.4% of GDP.

Malawi: At a glance

Malawi is a sovereign country in Africa, with a total land area of approximately 94,080 sq km. Established in 1891, the British protectorate of Nyasaland became the independent nation of Malawi in 1964. After three decades of one-party rule under President Hastings Kamuzu BANDA the country held multiparty elections in 1994, under a provisional constitution that came into full effect the following year. President Bingu wa MUTHARIKA, elected in May 2004 after a failed attempt by the previous president to amend the constitution to permit another term, struggled to assert his authority against his predecessor and subsequently started his own party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) in 2005. MUTHARIKA was reelected to a second term in May 2009. He oversaw some economic improvement in his first term, but was accused of economic mismanagement and poor governance in his second term. He died abruptly in April 2012 and was succeeded by his vice president, Joyce BANDA, who had earlier started her own party, the People's Party (PP). Population growth, increasing pressure on agricultural lands, corruption, and the scourge of HIV/AIDS pose major problems for Malawi.

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

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


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