The Republic of Sudan is a multi-ethnic country located in the north-eastern part of sub-Saharan Africa. In 2016 the country's population was estimated at 39.57 million, the fourth largest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, with 66 per cent living in rural areas. Much like Iraq, Palestine, Syria and Yemen, nearly half of Sudan's population are under the age of 18, and 5.9 million are children under age 5. The country has one of the lowest Human Development Indexes in the world (0.490, ranked 165th out of 188 countries), placing it below the MENA regional average of 0.704. In 2009, 46.5 per cent of the population lived under the national poverty line. Regional disparities are severe, with rural areas experiencing the highest levels of poverty: 57.6 per cent of the rural population are classified as poor.