Skip to Main Content
In 2015 965 million people had no sanitation facility and were therefore forced to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015) (Figure 1). The average proportion of ‘open defecators’ in developing countries is 16%, and in the least-developed countries 20%. Table 1 lists those countries with more than 15% open defecators and highlights those with more than 50%. Most of these open defecators are poor and live in rural areas – for example, in India, which had a total of 564 million open defecators in 2015, 61% of the rural population were open defecators vs only 10% of the urban population (WHO/UNICEF 2015), and 95% of the poorest quintile in rural areas were open defecators vs only 2% of the richest quintile (Figure 2). However, in low-income urban areas the number of open defecators can also be very high: for example, in India Gupta et al. (2009) found that 35–47% of poor households in Delhi, Indore, Meerut and Nagpur did not have any toilet facility.
Table 1

Countries with more than 15% and more than 50% of their populations practising OD in 2015 (WHO/UNICEF 2015)

RegionCountries with >15% ODa and percentages of populations practising ODb,c
Africa Angola (30%), Benin (53%), Burkina Faso (55%), Cabo Verde (24%), Central African Republic (22%), Chad (64%), Côte d'Ivoire (26%), Djibouti (20%), Eritrea (77%), Ethiopia (29%), Ghana (15%), Guinea (22%), Guinea-Bissau (17%), Lesotho (33%), Liberia (48%), Madagascar (40%), Mauritania (35%), Mozambique (39%), Namibia (48%), Niger (73%), Nigeria (25%), São Tome e Principe (54%), Sierra Leone (24%), South Sudan (74%), Togo (52%), Zimbabwe (28%) 
Asia Pacific Cambodia (47%), India (44%), Indonesia (20%), Kiribati (36%), Laos (33%), Nepal (32%), Solomon Islands (54%), Timor-Leste (26%) 
Latin America & Caribbean Bolivia (17%), Haiti (19%) 
RegionCountries with >15% ODa and percentages of populations practising ODb,c
Africa Angola (30%), Benin (53%), Burkina Faso (55%), Cabo Verde (24%), Central African Republic (22%), Chad (64%), Côte d'Ivoire (26%), Djibouti (20%), Eritrea (77%), Ethiopia (29%), Ghana (15%), Guinea (22%), Guinea-Bissau (17%), Lesotho (33%), Liberia (48%), Madagascar (40%), Mauritania (35%), Mozambique (39%), Namibia (48%), Niger (73%), Nigeria (25%), São Tome e Principe (54%), Sierra Leone (24%), South Sudan (74%), Togo (52%), Zimbabwe (28%) 
Asia Pacific Cambodia (47%), India (44%), Indonesia (20%), Kiribati (36%), Laos (33%), Nepal (32%), Solomon Islands (54%), Timor-Leste (26%) 
Latin America & Caribbean Bolivia (17%), Haiti (19%) 

aThe average 2015 OD rate for developing countries was 16%, and for the least developed countries 20%.

bSome countries with high OD rates in 1990 reported in WHO/UNICEF (2015) have no reported OD rates for 2015 (and are thus excluded from this table).

cCountries with >50% open defecators are shown in bold.

Figure 1

OD by a young boy in periurban India (photograph courtesy of Professor Barbara Evans, University of Leeds).

Figure 1

OD by a young boy in periurban India (photograph courtesy of Professor Barbara Evans, University of Leeds).

Figure 2

Percentage of rural population in India practising OD, by wealth quintile (JMP 2015a).

Figure 2

Percentage of rural population in India practising OD, by wealth quintile (JMP 2015a).

Close Modal

or Create an Account

Close Modal
Close Modal