Of the people living in Nepal, 25 percent are living below the poverty line, having just U.S. 50 cents per day. This makes Nepal one of the poorest countries in the world. Rates of disease, malnutrition and child mortality are high. Fortunately, Nepal has experienced slight economic growth in the past few years. Here are 10 facts about poverty in Nepal:
- Nepal has experienced over 70 civil wars since 1945. This has led to around 20 million deaths and over 65 million people displaced. The most recent war ended in 2006. Conflict within a country is influencing heavily on poverty rates, as it limits resources, healthcare and the possibility of a healthy job market.
- Around 5 million people in Nepal are undernourished. This is in part caused by high food prices and limited access in rural areas to farming. High prices of food make it unaffordable for people in poverty which drives hunger.
- Nepal has been the victim of numerous natural disasters. With an already struggling economy and low political stability level, earthquakes in Nepal are another factor of the country’s instability. People lose their homes and their jobs and are forced to find other ways to make a living. Women often become more vulnerable to trafficking in the post-natural disaster.
- Nepal’s government is known for being corrupt. The country was ranked third most corrupt country in South Asia. Abuse of authority leads to a biased economic system and unfair distribution of resources, perpetuating the issue of poverty in Nepal.
- Poverty in Nepal contributes to high child mortality rates. In 2016, for every 1,000 children born in Nepal, 35 died before their fifth birthday. This can be attributed to lack of health care and education access in impoverished regions, and there are many such regions in Nepal.
- The geography of Nepal influences the country’s ability to mitigate poverty. Nepal is a landlocked and mountainous region, which makes development and transportation of resources difficult.
- A lack of advanced farming methods makes it hard for progress against poverty in Nepal to be made. Over 85 percent of the people in Nepal rely on agriculture as the main form of sustenance. However, outdated methods are slowing the farming pace. The Government of Nepal has also not provided proper infrastructure to farmers.
- Unemployment and underemployment significantly contribute to poverty rates in Nepal. In 2016, the unemployment rate was around 3.4 percent. Lack of well-paying jobs is a major contributor to poverty.
- Surging housing prices have made it difficult for the impoverished people of Nepal to afford a house. Up to 10 percent of urban inhabitants are squatters. Rates of rural-urban migration have also soared in recent years, further pushing up the price of houses in cities.
- There are many non-profit organizations, such as Habitat for Humanity, that are working to help the people of Nepal. Habitat for Humanity has specifically focused on the last mentioned problem- housing crisis in Nepal. Working together with their partners, they are building 2.3 houses per hour. Thanks to organizations like this, communities in Nepal can become empowered and gain a better quality of life.
Nepal is lagging behind even undeveloped world when it comes to poverty. However, not all hope is lost. Efforts of volunteers and non-profit organizations have the potential to make a big difference, especially regarding the recent economic upturn. These 10 facts about poverty in Nepal highlight the various issues that contribute to the problem and the impact that they have on the country.
– Amelia Merchant