Key Findings

The prevalence of FGM in women aged 15–49 is 66.6%.

36.1% of women in the same age group believe FGM should continue.

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The regions with the highest prevalence are in the south and south-east


FGM is practised very shortly after birth and rarely after one year


‘Flesh removed’ is the most common type of FGM practised


Approximately 93% of FGM incidences are carried out by traditional practitioners

Development Indicators


4,264,264 (as at 8 June 2017), with a 2.2% growth rate (2016 est.)

Infant Mortality Rate

65 deaths per 1,000 live births (2015)

Maternal Mortality Rate

602 deaths per 100,000 live births (2015)


52.1% of the total population aged 15 and over can read/write

Prevalence of FGM

Prevalence of FGM

The regions in Mauritania with the highest prevalence of FGM are in the south and south-east: Hodh El Gharbi (92.2% of women aged 15–49), Assaba (94.5%) and Guidimakha (96.2%).  The region with the lowest prevalence is Inchiri, in the west (13.2%).  FGM is more prevalent in women aged 15–49 who live in rural areas, at 80.5%, than in those who live in urban areas, at 57.2%.

Prevalence is inversely correlated with women’s levels of education and wealth.

89.5% of women who live in a household where the head’s primary language is Soninké have undergone FGM, compared to 79% of women whose household head speaks Poular, 68.3% of women whose household head speaks Arabic and 15.7% of women whose household head speaks Wollof.

Please note the above figures are from 2015.

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Trends in FGM Prevalence

Between 2011 and 2016, the overall prevalence for women aged 15–49 fell from 69.4% to 66.6%.  Due to the large age-range of women included, however, the overall prevalence alone may not fully reflect the progress that has been made in recent years.  Breaking down the most recent data by age group shows that the prevalence for women aged 45–49 is 75.2%, while for the youngest age group this has fallen to 65.9%. Despite the fact that a small proportion of women may be cut after the age of 15, the data suggests a trend towards lower prevalences among younger women.

FGM Legislation in Mauritania

Currently, Article 12 of Law No. 2005–015 on the Criminal Protection of the Child (2005) criminalises and sets out the punishment for FGM performed on a child under 18 years of age in Mauritania.  Law enforcement is reportedly weak, and very few cases reach court.

See Mauritania: The Law and FGM for more detail.


Research and resources for Mauritania