Apart from a dynamic economy, social indicators still highlight the insecure living conditions of Malagasy people, mainly because of inadequate social infrastructures (schools, health centers, etc.) and dysfunctional public services. In addition, living conditions differ from one location to another, but are typically more challenging in rural than in urban areas, with a definite advantage for the capital, Antananarivo, compared with the rest of the country.
Poverty is markedly more severe in the southern regions of the country. Females are more prone to poverty: 80 per cent of female-headed households are poor, compared with 60 for male-headed.