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Socio-Economic Characteristics

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The survey was conducted in the capital city, Bangui, and four out of sixteen prefectures: Lobaye, Ombella M’Poko, Ouham and Ouham Pende. The prefectures were selected to reflect the range of experience of armed conflict in CAR and to provide a geographic unity from North to South. Other areas affected by conflict were not included in this study but should be considered for future research. A total of 1,879 interviews were conducted in a 117 villages and neighborhoods. The results are representative for the population at the prefecture level.

Figure 2: Sample distribution

The interview teams were composed of equal numbers of men and women and were assigned to same-sex respondents. The mean age of respondents was 36 years. The ethnic composition of the sample is broad, with the largest groups being the Gbaya (24%), Karre (14%), Banda (11%), and Manza (9%). The ethnic composition varied greatly across prefectures, as illustrated in the following figure. The majority of respondents described themselves as married or in a partnership (75%), 12 percent reported being single and never having been married, while 8 percent were widowed and 6 percent were divorced.

The average level of education was low, with 25 percent of respondents reporting no formal education, and 29 percent reporting incomplete primary education. The literacy level found in this survey (50%) is consistent with nationwide alphabetization rate estimate (44% in 2008), and below the regional average for sub-Saharan Africa (62% for the 2000-2007 period).[1] Educational achievements were lowest in the northern prefectures of Ouham and Ouham Pende, where over 75 percent reported no or incomplete primary education. Those two prefectures also claimed the highest proportion of asset-poor households.[2] The data suggested that more than 30 percent of the respondents were asset poor in Ouham and Ouham Pende, compared to 10 percent or less in Bangui, Lobaye, and Ombella M’Poko.


[1] Enquête Centrafricaine pour le Suivi Evaluation du Bien être (ECASEB), Institut Centrafricain des Statistiques et des Etudes Economiques et Sociales, 2008; State of the World’s Children, UNICEF, 2009.

[2] Asset poverty is a common measure of poverty based on ownership of a set of common household items. In this study, we assessed ownership of 9 items. Respondents could have a score ranging from 0 (no items owned) to 9 (all items owned). Asset poor are defined as the respondents among the lowest quintile of asset ownership. While it is not a measure of absolute poverty, the indicator suggests the geographic distribution of poverty. It does not, however, allow for cross-country comparisons because the set of assets may vary.