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Facts and Figures in MexicoIn recent years, access to education has expanded in Mexico. From 1950 to 2000, the total number of students enrolled in some form of formal education grew from 3.25 million to 28.22 million. While these statistics represent a vast improvement, there is still a lot of room for reform in Mexico’s educational system – recently there have been clashes between the government and teachers’ unions. Issues such as regional and economic inequalities, lack of educational access, financial strains and other factors make it difficult for many children to attain a quality education.

To aid in understanding the core issues with education in Mexico, here are some recent facts and figures:

  1. Despite the increase in enrollment Mexican schools have seen, many students fail to actually attend school and complete their education. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that about 21 percent of students in Mexico give up pursuing their education before the age of 14.
  2. For students who do intend to complete their full public education, there are few high-quality options. This is because the Mexican government currently spends about $7,600 per student, compared to approximately $27,900 per student in the United States.
  3. Additionally, the huge increase in the number of enrolled students has created a financial strain on Mexico’s government, which could contribute to the diminishing quality of public schools. This is because the majority of education in Mexico is publicly-funded, with 70 percent of students enrolled in higher education attending public schools.
  4. In particular, access to public education is the worst for indigenous and rural communities, according to the director of Mexico’s National Institute of Educational Evaluation, Sylvia Schmelkes. Government leaders fear that this lack of educational access could further the growing income inequality in Mexico, as rural students are not provided with opportunities for upward mobility.
  5. Patricio Solís, the research professor at the Center for Sociological Studies of the National Institute, found that the impact this has on rural students can be seen empirically. Children in the highest income groups have 7 times greater access to education than children of lower income levels.
  6. In addition to regional differences, gender differences are another major issue in Mexico’s educational system. Many young women are deterred from receiving an education and are instead pressured to marry at a young age. This has a direct impact on their education, as 83 percent of girls who choose marriage drop out of school, compared to the 15 percent of unmarried girls who drop out.

According to these current facts and figures in Mexico, access to education is growing but is in need of major reform. Despite the president’s attempts to reform education, many of his plans have been criticized for their impact on rural schools. Teachers argue that the president must address the unique situation and education style in rural areas rather than penalize them for failing to meet universal standards.

Julia Morrison

Facts and Figures in EthiopiaWith a population of more than 102 million people, Ethiopia is in the top 15 most populous countries of the world. Poverty is a key component to this large number. The people behind these digits have been associated with both suffering and fulfillment in four specific divisions. Outlined below are facts and figures in Ethiopia.

Agriculture
The central plateau of Ethiopia nurtures one of the largest areas of fertile land in east Africa. These highlands supply farmers with agricultural opportunity to grow many of their exported goods. Selling commodities range anywhere from vegetables to sesame seeds. In fact, reports state that coffee is the largest foreign exchange earner for Ethiopia. Despite Ethiopia’s dependence on agriculture sectors for much of its economic growth, only 5 percent of Ethiopia’s land gets irrigated. Organizations such as Farm Africa are working to help Ethiopian farmers transform this percentage. This form of aid is extremely effective towards lifting many Ethiopians out of poverty. One of Farm Africa’s most recent success stories includes training farmers to grow ginger and pepper. These crops are grown in small plots and then sold for top dollar.

Climate
Throughout 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia suffered a change in normal weather patterns. The shift in climate resulted in the worst drought the country had experienced in 30 years. The shortage of rain left many Ethiopians jobless and lacking food security. The U.N. World Meteorological Organization predicts a 50-60 percent chance of an El Niño event forming in the middle to late 2017. If this warming trend repeats itself, Ethiopia will be faced with famine and deprivation once again. The World Bank is currently backing a project called Multi-sector Investment Planning for Climate Resilience to assist with environmental issues. The platform mobilizes for new and additional climate finance for resilient landscapes in priority sectors. The targets include funding for natural disaster management, climate change, land management and water resource management. This project will remain active until 2018.

Food Security and Nutrition
On top of the 7.8 million people in Ethiopia requiring relief from last year’s drought, an additional eight million rely on the government of Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Program to receive food. According to UNICEF, unstable access to food directly relates to the undernutrition and malnutrition taking place in Ethiopia. Over the past decade, the importance of tackling malnutrition has grown. In 2012 the World Health Assembly adopted the 2025 Global Targets for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition. In 2013 donors committed $23 billion to improve nutrition. With the recent naming of 2016-2025 as the United Nations Decade of Action on Nutrition, more people have begun to recognize the importance proper nutrition holds.

Healthcare
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports maternal mortality, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as significant contributors to Ethiopia’s health issues. Health institutions remain severely underfunded in Ethiopia and many are out of reach. Consequently, many of these health problems continue to exist. On the bright side, the country has seen progress in increasing vaccinations and reducing the number of new HIV cases. According to the 2016 Ethiopia Demographic and Health Survey, vaccination coverage among children has increased substantially. Now, 81 percent of children 12-23 months are vaccinated against polio. Another study concludes 58 percent of women and 77 percent of men age 15-49 acknowledge that the constant use of condoms is a reliable form of preventing the spread of HIV.

The above facts and figures in Ethiopia showcase the country’s share of failures and victories. Poverty can be identified as the backbone of each sector, ranging from agriculture to healthcare. Though the summarized hardships appear bleak, it’s the continuous improvements that count for Ethiopia.

Emilee Wessel

Photo: Flickr

Facts and Figures About AustraliaAustralia is filled with native animals and peculiar weather patterns that make it unique from the rest of the world. Some facts about this country may be common knowledge, but others are lesser known.

Here are 10 facts and figures about Australia:

  1. Australia’s lowest temperatures are in their winter month of July. Some parts of Australia reach an average minimum temperature of 45 degrees Fahrenheit, while others reach as low as 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Many well-known animals that are native to Australia include the koala bear, the kangaroo and the wombat. These are marsupials that inhabit parks across Australia.
  3. One of Australia’s most abundant plants is eucalyptus. The Blue Mountains in Australia contain the world’s most diverse selection of eucalyptus varieties. In fact, the only places in Australia that eucalyptus plants are absent from are high alpine areas!
  4. There are three different time-zone divisions in Australia which consist of Australian Eastern, Central, and Western. Only certain parts of the country observe daylight savings, but Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia do not.
  5. Australia became a nation in January of 1901. It is divided into 6 states and 2 territories: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and the Northern and Australian Capital Territories.
  6. As of 2015, there were an estimated 23.7 million people living in Australia. This number has since grown to over 24 million, with one birth occurring almost every two minutes.
  7. One-quarter of the country’s population consists of people who were born overseas. Since the year 1945, 6 million people from more than 200 countries have settled in Australia.
  8. Australia is the only nation in the world that does not share its continent with another country. Australia is its own country and its own continent.
  9. The driest occupied continent on earth is Australia. The interior of the continent receives very little rainfall, and three-quarters of Australia is considered to have an arid or semi-arid climate.
  10. Australia’s spiders are among the largest in the world. A recent spotting at an Australian home confirms a spider that spanned at least 10 inches across in size!

After reading these facts and figures about Australia, it can be seen that with cold Julys, rare native creatures and an abundant amount of eucalyptus, Australia is a truly unique country.

Trisha Noel McDavid

Photo: Pixabay

Facts and Figures in the United Kingdom

A recent report from the U.K. has produced the shocking finding that those working in the U.K.’s gig economy could be earning as little as £2.50 ($3.26) or less an hour. The gig economy refers to those in work who are considered independent workers, usually on short-term contracts. Uber drivers or people working for food delivery services are typical examples of those who make up the workforce in the gig economy.

Long-standing Member of Parliament for Birkenhead, Frank Field, carried out the report. Field served as the chair of the Work and Pensions Committee until May 2017.

Still, in the aftermath of a surprising general election result, facts and figures in the United Kingdom shed light on growing economic inequality. Opponents of the current conservative government find these statistics especially crucial.

This report comes in the context of Prime Minister Theresa May placing a heavy focus on employment protection and the quality of self-employment in the U.K. The pressure on the government to prioritize employment regulation came amid a storm of controversy surrounding zero-hour contracts. Zero-hour contracts are “a type of contract used by employers whereby workers agree to be potentially available for work although have no guaranteed hours.”

It was not just the facts and figures in the United Kingdom relating to wages that this report addressed. In addition to some workers earning less than £2.22 an hour—£5 less than the national minimum wage—workers have reported being fined hundreds of pounds for refusing to work while being ill.

This includes accounts of people turning up to work with serious physical injuries or a bucket to throw-up in on a shift.

Furthermore, workers reported a requirement to sign contracts that subsidize company profit. This prevents them from being able to contest their own employment status. Once they sign these contracts, workers give up full employment status and thus render themselves subject to harsher treatment with fewer workers’ rights.

The percentage of Britain’s workforce under the status of self-employed was reported to be nearing 16% at the beginning of last year. In the same year, it was reported that over five million workers in the U.K. were being paid less than the voluntary living wage.

As Britain’s gig economy grows, more and more companies encourage employees to abandon full employment status for the promise of flexibility and better pay. While this often falls short, the government must address the growing issue of poverty pay and the mistreatment of gig workers.

The Trade Union Congress has conducted research that concluded that 40% of self-employed earners are considered low-paid. They also found that a disproportionate number of gig workers were more likely to rely on tax credits or housing benefits.

Though they boasted the second highest GDP in Europe last year, the U.K. also held the 13th highest poverty rate, at 16.7%. Pressure, therefore, is on the U.K. government to address the flaws of the gig economy. They are evidently plunging many workers into poverty.

The government has commissioned a report on modern employment, which has just been published. While the report includes recommendations that could go a long way in securing higher wages and more stability for the self-employed, it is yet to be seen how much of the advice provided by the report will be implemented.

Support for the government is declining and has been since the election in June. In order to provide facts and figures in the United Kingdom that showcase an economy working for all, Theresa May must tackle poverty pay in the gig economy.

Cornell Holland

Photo: Google

Nine Facts and Figures About Migration to Italy
Political instability is a strong driving force behind poverty and unemployment, and Italy has served as a gateway for a better quality of life for political refugees. Since the mid-twentieth century, Italy has been a hub for international migration, as the Italian peninsula bears proximity to the Middle East, Afric, and former USSR countries, and offers easy access to continental Europe. The following paragraphs include facts and figures about the history of migration to Italy, who has migrated to Italy and how the Italian government has handled immigration.

The first large refugee population in Italy came from Tunisia in the 1980s. Tunisians who had formerly migrated to France for labor opportunities began to flock to nearby Italy to work in its informal economy. Lampedusa and Sicily, both Italian islands (the former being only 70 miles from Tunisia) became the leading destinations for Tunisian refugees.

Following the Tunisians were female migrants from Catholic countries in South America and northern Africa who were employed in housework or as waitresses.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, refugees began to come from Romania, Albania and Ukraine to escape political instability. Over time, this new wave of refugees changed the ethnic makeup of migrants to Italy. In 2003, eastern European refugees dominated half the regions in Italy while northern African refugees dominated the other half, separating the two migrant groups. By 2014, however, every area was dominated by either Romanian, Albanian or Ukrainian migrants.

In recent years, Italy has made attempts to discourage refugees from entering the country. In 2008, former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and Moammar Gadhafi signed the “Treaty of Friendship” in which Itay promised to invest $5 billion in Libyan infrastructure projects in exchange for a drastic decrease in illegal immigration from Libya. The migration from Libya spiked again in 2011 after Gadhafi was overthrown. In 2012, Italy faced harsh criticism from the European Court of Human Rights for signing similar bilateral agreements with migrants’ countries of origins that allowed for the quick deportation of refugees.

In November 2013, however, the Italian Navy enacted a search-and-rescue program called Mare Nostrum, following a tragic boat accident one month prior that killed 349 asylum seekers. In one year, this program rescued more than 160,000 people. The program got abandoned in October 2014 after receiving criticism from the European Union for encouraging migration across the Mediterranean.

In 2015, Italy was second to Germany for the highest number of refugees seeking asylum, with 122,960 applicants.

The overwhelming majority of immigrants to Italy are men ages 18 to 34. In 2016, 85,570 men within this age range migrated to Italy, comprising 70% of migrants to Italy that year. This group of migrants largely included migrant workers who sent remittances to their families in their home countries.

In 2017, the Minister of the Interior, Marco Minniti, issued a decree that enforced stringent guidelines on the rights of asylum seekers in Italy. First, migrants who were denied asylum in Italy would lose their right to appeal the decision. Second, the process for seeking asylum was modified so that it would be a summary proceeding instead of a full chamber proceeding. In this case, the judge would no longer hear the asylum seeker’s interview before granting or denying asylum.

This information about migration to Italy demonstrates how a developed country may choose to respond to an ongoing refugee crisis. While the Italian government has made substantial efforts to repatriate migrants, projects such as Mare Nostrum have had a positive impact by saving thousands of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean Sea. Considering their proximity to northern Africa, the Middle East and Eastern Europe, the Italian government must decide whether it is their responsibility to assist refugees who are escaping the internal crisis.

Christiana Lano

Photo: Flickr

Facts and Figures About GreeceGreece is a country in southeastern Europe about the size of Alabama. Among other things, the nation is known fo­­­­­r its beautiful beaches and remarkable history. However, these wonderful features can easily be overlooked in recent years as the nation has faced and continues to face severe economic challenges.

According to Trading Economics, as of April 2017, the nation’s unemployment rate sits at 21.7 percent. That means more than two million Greeks are out of work. This unemployment rate is a few points lower than that of the U.S. at the height of the Great Depression.

The harsh economic conditions that Greece is facing are nothing new. While there is no official start date, December 2009 was an early sign of what was to come. With concerns rising that the Greek government would fail to pay its large debt, the nation’s credit rating was downgraded by an influential rating agency.

In the summer of 2011, the leaders of the European Union decided to bail out Greece, but this did not solve the nation’s crippling economic problems. A few key facts and figures about Greece demonstrate that in the months and years following the €109 billion bailout, conditions continued their downward trajectory.

In April of 2013, youth unemployment was just under 60 percent. In February of 2014, overall unemployment had increased to 28 percent. These harsh economic realities have plagued the nation’s people. Material deprivation affects more than 22 percent of the population, according to Eurostat. In other words, more than one in five people in Greece simply cannot afford basic necessities.

As a result, organizations such as food banks are struggling to keep up with overwhelming demand. “We’re worried because we don’t know if we’ll be able to meet these people’s needs,” said Eleni Katsouli, a municipal offer at a food bank in Athens, to Reuters.

As the facts and figures about Greece indicate, the nation’s people are in need of help. Fortunately, people and organizations have stepped up. One organization making a particularly strong impact is Desmos.

According to its website, Desmos exists to respond to “the need to responsibly and effectively utilize the private initiative in addressing the humanitarian crisis” afflicting Greece. One program that the organization runs that demonstrates its impact is “Desmos for Schools.” This is the fourth year of the initiative. In 2017 alone it donated important items such as computers and sports equipment to 14 schools in Greece. More than 1,300 students will benefit from these efforts.

Charitable organizations such as Desmos are not the only reason for optimism in Greece. A sign of economic improvement showed in 2016 when the budget surplus exceeded expectations. This positive trajectory is predicted to continue as the nation’s GDP is projected to grow by more than 1 percent this year and more than 2 percent next year, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Positive facts and figures about Greece such as these are encouraging signs. If these projections hold true, Greece’s darkest days are likely behind it. However, a very large portion of the population is struggling with poverty right now and is in need of help.

Adam Braunstein

Photo: Pixabay

Algeria’s Facts and Figures
Situated in the northernmost part of Africa on the south side of the Mediterranean Sea between Tunisia and Morocco, Algeria is the continent’s largest country—and for the past half-century, it has been plagued by violence. This country is ripe with history, and here’s some of the most important of Algeria’s facts and figures.

France first seized the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria back in 1830, ending three centuries of Algeria as an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire. By 1954, the Algerian War of Independence had broken out, which was largely motivated by the National Liberation Front (the FLN—the nation’s primary political party), and they successfully gained their autonomy from France in 1962.

The current President of Algeria is Abdelaziz Bouteflika, who won the presidency in the 1999 election and has held power ever since. In 1991, a civil war broke out with Muslims against the government; when Bouteflika was elected in 1999, he was able to restrain the conflict of a brutal civil war by introducing a national reconciliation policy, restoring economic stability within the country.

When regarding facts and figures on Algeria’s economy, it is largely dominated by hydrocarbons. These hydrocarbons account for 30 percent of the country’s GDP, 60 percent of budget revenues, and close to 95 percent of all export earnings, as Algeria holds the 10th-largest reserve of natural gas globally. Algeria’s economy also enjoys an extremely low debt, at just 2 percent of GDP.

When it comes to Algeria’s facts and figures regarding its climate, it is mainly arid to semi-arid, with wet winters and hot, dry summers along the coast—dusty, sand-laden wind is very common in the summertime. The average elevation is about 800m, contains 17.3 percent of usable agricultural land, and its main natural resources are petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, phosphates, uranium, lead and zinc.

Algeria’s environment is subject to biodiversity, climate change, desertification, endangered species, hazardous wastes and ship pollution, among others.

Some of the leading current issues involving Algeria’s environment include the Mediterranean Sea becoming polluted from factors such as oil wastes, soil erosion and fertilizer runoff.

According to the Central Intelligence Agency, as of July 2016, facts and figures regarding the population of Algeria were at 40,263,711 people, with 99 percent of the population being Muslim and predominantly Sunni. The most common of languages in the nation are Arabic, French and Berber.

When broadcasting to the population, the government exercises a strong hold over the media, and the radio sector of the media is entirely state-run.

A major issue within Algeria is human trafficking, with women being subjected to atrocities such as forced labor, sex trafficking, prostitution, domestic service and begging. As for men, they can be subject to forced labor, criminal networks and domestic servitude.

Fortunately, slight improvement has been made with Algeria moving from a category three to a category two in human trafficking.

Sara Venusti

Photo: Google


Poverty in South Africa has been an ongoing problem, despite it being a focal point of the country’s constitution. According to an article from Poverties, the constitution in South Africa states that all citizens should have access to “social security, including, if they are unable to support themselves and their dependants, appropriate social assistance.” Facts and figures in South Africa relating to this issue show that a substantial portion of the country’s population is living in extreme poverty.

An article from the Daily Maverick explained that approximately half of the population in South Africa is living in poverty. In addition, about 21.7 percent of the country’s population is living in extreme poverty, according to the article.

Those living in this state of extreme poverty are often not able to afford food items that meet basic nutritional standards. While a little over half of the population is able to afford enough food, those who fall under this category are still considered to be within the widest definition of poverty in South Africa.

Poverty statistics from 2011 reveal that the number of those living in poverty in South Africa is increasing from year to year. While some data has shown that there may be long-term declines in poverty, missing poverty-reduction targets such as the one set for 2015 shows that South Africa is still far from eradicating poverty in the region.

According to data published by the World Bank, the GNI per capita in South Africa went from $6,090 in 2015 to $5,480 in 2016. The GDP growth was approximately 1.3 percent in 2015 and 0.3 percent in 2016.

The facts and figures in South Africa provided by the World Bank also stated that the poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day was approximately 16.9 percent in 2008 compared to 16.6 percent in 2011. While this reduction is good, it is only slight progress.

In 2010, the poverty headcount ratio at national poverty lines was approximately 53.8 percent. Facts and figures in South Africa point towards the future improvement in respect to poverty, though change is fairly slow moving.

Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr

Facts and Figures in IndiaWith more than 1.2 billion people, India has the second largest population in the world. In fact, it has 700 million more people than the European Union. At 1.19 percent, India’s population growth rate is also incredibly high. This number may not seem large, but considered next to the other top-populations of the world (The US is .81 percent, China .43), it is actually quite high. Here are more facts and figures in India:

  1. India’s economy is based largely on agriculture. The CIA World Factbook reports that around 50 percent of the population works in farming and other agriculturally based jobs.
  2. Another valuable area of India’s economy is its primary export: information technology services, software workers, and business outsourcing services. This part of India’s economy accounts for roughly 65 percent of the output, despite only employing one-third of the population.
  3. However, growth in the technology sector does not mirror the nation’s level of urbanization. Only about 32.7 percent of India’s population lives in urban areas. When compared with the world average of 54 percent, it is still plain that India’s agricultural base is still largely at the helm. Fortunately, India’s rate of urbanization is above the world average, indicating a slight shift towards the technological side of the economy.
  4. Unfortunately, India has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in the world. At 68.5 years, India ranks 164th among all nations. To give some scope to this number, China is ranked 101st at 75.5 years. Monaco ranked first, with a life expectancy of 89.5 years.
  5. The main contributors to low life expectancy are poor sanitation practices and extremely low health expenditures. The facts and figures in India collected in the CIA Factbook show that India spends 4.7 percent of its GDP on health. That ranks it between Madagascar and Fiji at 159th.

There is headway for an improvement to the Indian government’s tackling of health issues. The World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office for India and the Indian government worked together to create the WHO Country Cooperation Strategy— India (CCS).

The Country Cooperation Strategy’s goal is to help alleviate equity issues and improve health. It does so by using three different strategic priorities. Frst, it will support the Indian government’s involvement in global health through international health regulations and pharmaceutical improvements. Second, it will promote access to sustainable quality services for the entire population. Lastly, it will confront the spread of diseases. With a concrete plan in place, India’s quality of life will improve drastically in coming years.

Stephen Praytor

Pixabay


Nepal is known for being a hub of outdoor excursions and adventurous vacations in South Asia. However, the area has been plagued with poverty and natural disasters that are limiting its economic growth. Here are some important facts and figures in Nepal that are key to understanding the region’s poverty.

  1. Nepal has experienced numerous natural disasters including avalanches and landslides over the past few years. There are now heavy financial burdens from cleanup and repairs as well as hardships with respect to agriculture.
  2. Overall, the landscape in Nepal is uneven and rocky. This makes it difficult to cultivate for farming. A combination of poor-quality soil and infrequent rainfall further contributes to low agricultural holdings in the region. Erosion and flooding in the area also result in low crop yields.
  3. With limited growth in the agricultural sector, the living standards in rural areas continue to decline. This is further exacerbated by a growing population.
  4. The majority of Nepal’s population lives in rural areas and greatly depends on subsistence farming. In these areas, more than 50% of the children under the age of five experience malnutrition.
  5. Approximately 25.2% of those living in Nepal live below the national poverty line. In addition, of those unemployed in the country, 12.5% earn less than $1.90 per day of purchasing power parity.
  6. The poverty rate increases to approximately 45% in the mid-western region of Nepal and about 46% in the far western region.
  7. Approximately 25% of children are engaged in family and/or wage labor.
  8. Approximately 2.9% of Nepalese infants perish before their first birthday. Facts and figures in Nepal show that infant mortality is typically higher for girls.
  9. According to a 2013 report from the United Nations on human development, Nepal has a Human Development Index of approximately 0.463. Nepal ranks 157th out of 187 countries.
  10. According to the national living standards survey conducted between 2010 and 2011, more than 30% of those living in Nepal have less than $14 per person to spend each month.

A general lack of economic opportunity has led to the country’s current impoverished state. These facts and figures in Nepal reveal that poverty is an ongoing problem.

Leah Potter

Photo: Flickr