The Effects of Poverty

Poverty can have lasting impacts on both the people and communities in which it is present. The effects of poverty are often detrimental to both the health and education of people that are affected by it, and can lead to higher crime and mortality rates in neighborhoods and countries where the poverty level is high.

More than 10,000 children die every day because they live in poor housing. The effects of poverty on children are even more dangerous than for adults, because children are still developing. While in their developing stages, without access to healthy living conditions or secure access to food and water, children easily succumb to both disease and death. Living in a house that does not have adequate ventilation or proper heating can cause lasting damage to a child’s health, if they survive at all.

Poverty also affects education for people of all ages. Younger students will not be able to afford school supplies or clothes for school. As students get older, without a scholarship, secondary education and college are out of the question. Sometimes, even with a scholarship, they are not able to attend, because they have a family to support at home and need to work. Without adequate education, many people end up working for minimal pay, which keeps them impoverished for the duration of their lives and continues the cycle of poverty within the home.

The effects of poverty include high crime rates in affected communities. People without the proper resources to survive often resort to theft and violence in order to survive. Oftentimes, in high poverty areas there are also high unemployment rates, and because people are unable to obtain jobs, they resort to crime because they feel they have no other options.

The cycle of continued poverty also has a significant negative effect on the health of citizens. Substance abuse is often higher in areas with high poverty rates. This only continues to drive families deeper into poverty and continues the vicious cycle of poverty in the community. There are also more crippling accidents, because people in poverty tend to take jobs in unsafe working conditions to make money.

Poverty also has the power to divide society. The lower class is pitted against the higher class and vice-versa. This allows the gap between the two to become even larger without a chance to rectify the problem. In countries with large gaps between the two classes, the middle class is often small or nonexistent, which is an important stepping stone for people in a lower class to earn better wages. As that class disappears, the amount of impoverished citizens will continue to grow.

The effects of poverty are plentiful and widespread. The amount of crime, violence and death that run rampant in communities with high poverty rates are no coincidence, and are a direct result of the amount of poverty in that area. In order to diminish crime and violence in these areas, poverty has to be diminished first.

– Simone Williams

Photo: Flickr

lowest life expectancy in the world
Out of the established 224 countries on the earth, these are the bottom five with the lowest life expectancy in the world. The countries listed below range from an average lifespan of 52.1 years to 50.6 years old.

Five Countries with the Lowest Life Expectancy in the World

  1. Swaziland
    Swaziland has the fifth-lowest life expectancy in the world at an average of 52.1 years. Swaziland is the only country on this list with men living, on average, longer than women. As of 2016, the top two reasons for deaths were HIV/AIDS and lower respiratory infections.However, Swaziland is one of the countries receiving help from USAID. One of the top priorities of USAID is fighting against HIV/AIDS by preventing sexual transmission, increasing the prevalence of male circumcision, improving institutions and training, lessening the impact of HIV/AIDS and decentralizing care and treatment. With USAID’s continued assistance and its partnerships within the African nation, there is a chance that the average lifespan in Swaziland can increase above 52.1 years.
  1. Gabon
    With an average lifespan of 52.1 years, Gabon is ranked number four for the lowest life expectancy in the world. Despite being rated so low, Gabon has a robust oil-dependent economy, making it a middle-income country.Due to this income status, it is ineligible for relief programs such as Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. This ineligibility may be why HIV/AIDS and heart disease are the top two reasons for death in the country, contributing to the low life expectancy.
  1. Afghanistan
    The only country not in Africa, Afghanistan is ranked at number three with an average lifespan of 51.7 years. This ranking may increase over time through help from USAID.In Afghanistan, USAID is working to promote health and education, both critical factors in raising life expectancies. USAID and its partners are making substantial strides to improve the healthcare for Afghans. For example, in 2016, the organization began a project to help reduce malnutrition and increase access to safe water and sanitation.USAID is also working toward making essential health services available and improving the quality and quantity of medicines. These resources, once available to Afghans, grant the nation a high potential to no longer be one of the countries with the lowest life expectancy in the world.
  1. Guinea-Bissau
    The second-to-last country with the lowest life expectancy in the world is Guinea-Bissau, averaging about 51 years of life. Aid for Africa is working in Guinea-Bissau with programs that help improve health and education, create businesses and protect wildlife.Another program through Aid for Africa, called Tostan, works by using local languages and traditions to promote democracy, problem-solving, human rights, hygiene and health. Through this program, successful countries have become more prosperous as well as healthier. With the continued implementation of programs such as these, Guinea-Bissau could improve its quantity of life.
  1. Chad
    Chad has the lowest life expectancy in the world at an average lifespan of 50.6 years. The life expectancy in this nation is so low because it has one of the highest rates of maternal mortality and high infant mortality as well.USAID has several programs to help those living in Chad. USAID and the U.N. World Food Programme are working together to distribute food and make sure access to food is readily available all over the country.Starting in 2018, programs such as In-Kind Food Aid, Local and Regional Food Procurement, Cash Transfers for Food and Food Vouchers all will be funded to help citizens. With these various programs helping improve health and nutrition, sources are working with Chad to increase the average lifespan.

World life expectancy continues to increase on the whole, but these five countries are still lagging behind. In order to increase the longevity and potential of their citizens’ lives, they will require targeted aid and a focus on infrastructure and healthcare.

– Amber Duffus

Photo: Flickr

life expectancy in Nigeria
Nigeria has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world; in 2017, the country ranked 214th out of 224 nations. The current life expectancy in Nigeria is 53.8 years, with women living slightly longer than men.

Though the life expectancy in Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world, it has increased notably in recent decades. In 2000, the life expectancy in Nigeria was only 46.26 years; more than seven years lower than the current life expectancy rate. This increase reflects the current global trend of life expectancy rates increasing.

Some developed countries are expected to have an average life expectancy of 90 years within the next decade. Though Nigeria still has a long way to go before its life expectancy rates are near these levels, the country has been making changes that have led to this growth in life expectancy, and will continue to increase this rate in the future.

One of the ways that Nigeria has increased its life expectancy rate is through the increased healthcare improvements for women and children in the country. In 2015, three Nigerian states, Adamawa, Nasarawa, and Ondo, made healthcare improvements that were possible due to funding primarily from the World Bank, as well as other partners. These healthcare improvements made it possible for more than nine million people to gain access to improved healthcare facilities.

More specifically, pregnant women in these regions now have access to healthcare facilities. This is significant because one of the leading causes of death in Nigeria is attributed to infant mortality. With pregnant women and mothers gaining better access to healthcare services, there is an increased chance that their children will be able to receive more advanced medical attention that could potentially save their lives.

An additional factor potentially leading to the recent increase in the life expectancy in Nigeria is improved sanitation policies and practices. In Nigeria, more than 124,000 children under the age of five die because of diarrhea, mainly due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene. One advancement made recently to combat this is the eradication of guinea worm disease; in 2013, Nigeria was certified as being free of the disease.

In addition to the strides being made in water sanitation in Nigeria, there has also been an emphasis placed on ending open defecation. High volumes of open defecation lead to increased health risks, such as cholera. In 2016, Nigeria officially had over 16,000 open defecation-free communities. In 2008, only approximately 15 communities were considered to be open defecation free. This large reduction of open defecation has been achieved largely because of the development of a National Roadmap for the elimination of open defecation in Nigeria by 2025, which is supported by UNICEF.

Though the life expectancy in Nigeria is still one of the lowest in the world, it is increasing at a steady rate. With the future continuation of increased access to medical facilities, specifically for women and children, and continued sanitation efforts, there is hope that Nigeria as a nation will be able to make even larger strides in increasing the life expectancy rate for Nigerian citizens.

– Nicole Stout

Photo: Flickr