Asia is the largest continent in the world, covering 17,139,445 square miles with a population of 4,406,273,633 people. Despite widespread economic success, Asia remains the worst continent for global hunger and contains more than half of the world’s poorest people. Below are 13 facts about poverty in Asia that everyone should know.

  1. Urban Poor
    A reported 75 million people were living below the poverty line of $3.10 in 2017, placing them at high disaster risk. China, Indonesia and the Philippines make up most of East Asia’s urban poor.
  2. Hunger
    About 519.6 million people do not have enough food to eat in Asia, and a prominent 70 percent of the world’s malnourished children live on the eastern continent. Due to lack of proper nutrients, 100 million children in Asia are stunted, 28 percent of the total youth population.
  3. Average Income
    In 2017, Afghanistan had the lowest annual average income in the world at $1,100.
  4. Sanitation
    The second biggest cause of death among children under five years old in more than 60 percent of East Asia is diarrhoeal diseases. About two out of every five people in East Asia do not have proper sanitation facilities. Open defecation is still practiced by 130 million people throughout countries in the region.
  5. Women
    Representing two-thirds of the poor due to discrimination in education and employment, women make up a significant amount of the people in poverty in Asia.
  6. Rice
    With the decline of rice sales in some economies, such as in Cambodia, Myanmar and Lao PDR, nations will have to shift their focus of economic growth in order to continuously reduce poverty in their countries.
  7. Children
    With education unaffordable and families trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty, child labor is prominent in Asia. Children experience excessively long hours and are placed in harm’s way doing hazardous work.
  8. Natural Disaster and Climate Change
    Natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes, extreme temperatures, storms, wildfires and droughts affect agriculture in Asia. According to World Vision, Asia Pacific is the most disaster-prone region in the world.
  9. Government
    In 2015, over 60 percent of Asian Pacific countries scored below 50 on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index. This indicates a serious corruption problem. Poverty, corruption and development are interrelated issues.
  10. Organic Farming
    Offering a means of generating more income, organic farming presents opportunity, but for those who can afford it. For small farmers, certification is costly and is not in the name or control of the farmer who is paying for the form. This diminishes potential commitment or interest in organic farming.
  11. Rural Poor
    In many regions across Asia, up to 90 percent of poor people live in rural areas. Poor rural households usually have larger families who are underemployed and are less educated. Access to credit and technology is limited.
  12. Minorities
    In Vietnam, ethnic groups make up around 12 million of the 90 million population but account for over two-fifths of the country’s poverty. These inequalities fuel poverty in Asia.
  13. Education
    Many students attending primary school in South Asia are taught on rote bases. This leads to many weakened skills such as problem solving, writing grammatically correct sentences and measuring. In 2014, studies showed that “one quarter to one third of those who graduate from primary school lack basic numeracy and literacy skills that would enable them to further their education.”

Through these important facts about poverty in Asia, it becomes clear that, within the continent of Asia, every country is experiencing its own levels of poverty. With hope, the strides achieved through economic achievement will start to create a positive impact on residents, reducing poverty in Asia until it is nonexistent.

– Tara Jackson

Photo: Flickr