Poverty: The Facts

07Dec07

Here’s a few facts about the scale of world poverty. You can find references here at http://www.globalissues.org. You should also check out the information on AIDS, Pneumonia, Diarrhoea, Tuberclulosis, Malaria and Measles at http://www.poverty.com/.

  • 27–30,000 children die every day because of malnutrition, dehydration or easily preventable illnesses. This is equivalent to 10-11 million per year. By comparison, approximately 250,000 people were killed in the 2004 Asian tsunami.
  • Half the world — nearly three billion people — live on less than two dollars a day.
  • The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (i.e. a quarter of the world’s countries) is less than the wealth of the world’s three richest people combined.
  • Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
  • Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school by the year 2000 and yet it didn’t happen.
  • 51 percent of the world’s 100 hundred wealthiest bodies are corporations.
  • The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation.
  • The poorer the country, the more likely it is that debt repayments are being extracted directly from people who neither contracted the loans nor received any of the money.
  • 20% of the population in the developed nations, consume 86% of the world’s goods.
  • The top fifth of the world’s people in the richest countries enjoy 82% of the expanding export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment — the bottom fifth, barely more than 1%.
  • In 1960, the 20% of the world’s people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20% — in 1997, 74 times as much.
  • The developing world now spends $13 on debt repayment for every $1 it receives in grants.
  • A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world’s poorest 2.5 billion people.
  • Approximately 790 million people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost two-thirds of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.
  • 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.
  • Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
  • 1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometre, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 50 litres of water a day flushing toilets (where average daily water usage is about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 litres.
  • The world’s 497 billionaires in 2001 registered a combined wealth of $1.54 trillion, well over the combined gross national products of all the nations of sub-Saharan Africa ($929.3 billion) or those of the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and North Africa ($1.34 trillion). It is also greater than the combined incomes of the poorest half of humanity.
  • 10.6 million children died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy). 1.4 million die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.
  • About 0.13% of the world’s population control 25% of the world’s assets.
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