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Poverty Rate in China
Over the past several decades, China has made a remarkable effort to decrease its poverty rate. Consequently, the nation has seen an exponential decline. This marks a dramatic and obvious shift in the country’s efforts to eradicate poverty.

According to data from The World Bank, approximately 756 million people were living in poverty in China in the year 1990. At the time, the total population of the country was 1.14 billion. In 2013, this number has decreased to around 25 million, while the total population has increased to 1.36 billion. This marks a decrease in the poverty headcount ratio from 67 to about 2%.

The number of people living under the poverty line has thus decreased at a nearly improbable rate. Additionally, the pace at which the number is dropping is picking up.

According to Reuters, approximately 12 million people in China in 2016 moved above the poverty line through the investment of 230 billion yuan into anti-poverty efforts. This equates to $33.5 billion.

The Chinese government is using these funds in an attempt to completely eradicate poverty by 2020.

When examining the tremendous progress made by the Chinese in the fight against poverty, it is important to note that the primary method has been a higher issuance of loans.

By allowing people to take out loans that typically work as microloans, the Chinese government is giving impoverished Chinese citizens the opportunity to pursue continued education opportunities and create small businesses. These are two essential factors for a growing country.

Despite continued efforts to fight poverty, this remains a major issue. According to The China Daily Newspaper, approximately 43 million people are living below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan per year, which is equivalent to $335.

This number is slightly above the poverty line that the Chinese government acknowledges. Consequently, these people are not technically impoverished, despite being unable to sustain a decent life with an income of this level.

China should definitely be proud of its advances in lowering the poverty rate in China. However, it is important to remember that fighting poverty is a war that will require constant support and effort.

Garrett Keyes

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in India
India, which now has the world’s third-largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, has been an urban-centered, industrializing nation since its independence in 1947. Over the last 25 years, India has been noted for its significant economic growth which looks to continue for the 2017 -2018 fiscal year with an expected growth rate of 7.2%. While India has maintained much economic success, many failures and weaknesses still debilitate the nation’s full potential. For example, the poverty rate in India has been less severe in recent years, but there is still much room for improvement.

In 2016, 270 million Indians were surviving on $1.90 or less a day, the World Bank’s definition of extreme poverty. Of the people living in these conditions, 80 percent lived in rural India, where the main source of income for the population is through casual labor. While the economy has appeared to have boomed over the last 25 years, most growth has been in urban areas where large multinational corporations, such as IBM and Microsoft, base their software development headquarters.

With this divide between urban and rural life, economic growth does not seem to remove the issues of extreme poverty in the way a neoliberal economist would suggest. A study in 2002 found that these conditions in India are partially due to educational poverty, which is defined as the deprivation of basic education and literacy. Only 6% of the income from poor households is invested in education and health, while the majority is spent on other necessities such as food and fuel.

However, Tsujita, a researcher of the Institute of Developing Economies, believes that “there may be a chance of escaping poverty through education.” The government in India seems to agree with this statement as they promoted the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) project as a part of their flagship program. SSA was a project in India that began in 2002 to enroll all six- to 14-year-olds in primary education by 2010. The project attempted to do so by improving the facilities and infrastructure of schools while also expanding access to these facilities nationally. As a result, by 2009, 98% of children were only 1 kilometer away from educational facilities and only 2.7 million children remained out of school.

With the extreme poverty rate in India falling from 53.86% in 1983 to 21.23% in 2011, the World Bank strongly believes that education is a powerful instrument for poverty reduction. While the reductions in the extreme poverty rate in India over the past 20 years in India are not due solely to educational improvements, the investment in enhancing basic education has had a significant impact on the poverty rate in India.

Although India’s literacy and education rates remain poor on a global scale, the recent achievements of the SSA are far greater than those previously undertaken, as the program was implemented throughout all districts of India. However, there is still more work to be done. A recent survey shows that half of the government schools in India have no teaching activity and low student progression rates. For the nation to truly eradicate extreme poverty, quality education must be promoted.

These same strides should be made internationally to ensure a better future. Today, 263 million children still do not attend school or lack access to such facilities due to conflicts or national instabilities. Former U.N. secretary-general, Ban Ki-Moon, professed that “with partnership, leadership and wise investments in education, we can transform individual lives, national economies and our world”.

The American people have the opportunity and ability to support such a transformation. The Reinforcing Education Accountability in Development (READ) Act aims to provide basic education and access to the remaining out-of-school children around the world. This piece of legislation has recently passed through the House of Representatives, but it must still be approved by the Senate. As the dramatic changes in India over a 10-year period were due partially to improvements in basic education, a bill such as the READ Act has the potential to improve living conditions for children globally.

Tess Hinteregger

Photo: Flickr

Poverty Rate in Aruba
Aruba, a small country in the South Caribbean Sea, has been regarded as a popular vacation spot where tourism continues to thrive. Accounting for 30% of the island’s income, the tourism industry has been on the rise since 1985. This industry has brought an increase in business to the hotel industry as well as construction and the food industry. Tourism has helped create a flourishing economy and contributed to the low poverty rate in Aruba.

These increases of industry have paved the way for an increase in jobs. This contributes to the low unemployment rate, 6.9% as of 2005. Aruba’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been estimated at about $23,500 per capita in 2011, which is among the highest in Central and South America as well as the Caribbean.

The unemployment rate continues to be low due to an abundance of jobs and a stable economy, yet jobs still go unfulfilled. With a focus on tourism, the majority of jobs are concentrated in the tourism industry, whether it be in the hotel industry or otherwise.

Although public debt was recorded as 67% of the GDP in 2013, the inflation rate in 2016 was negative at about minus 0.8%. Like any island nation, Aruba exports only a fraction of what it imports. Partially due to tourism, the island maintains a steady economy, where 1.79 Aruban Florin has consistently been equivalent to $1 since 2012. With more than one million visitors to the island per year, the majority of businesses in tourist areas operate on the U.S. dollar.

Aruba’s tourism industry has continued to thrive in recent years. Increases in the tourism industry have created low unemployment and have contributed to the low poverty rate in Aruba. The tourism industry is expected to continue to prosper in Aruba due to the stable economy and exchange rate. Continued low rates of poverty can also be expected for the near future of Aruba.

Stefanie Podosek

Photo: Flickr

Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate
In 2016, Costa Rica was named the happiest country in the world. But, while the country as a whole has enjoyed stability and a steadily growing economy in recent years, marginalized groups have been left behind. Discussed below are key facts about Costa Rica’s poverty rate that should not be overlooked.

 

7 Leading Facts About Costa Rica’s Poverty Rate

 

  1. Costa Rica’s inequality rate has increased since 2000, a division that disproportionately affects indigenous and minority groups. Today, the country’s richest 20 percent receive an income 19 times higher than that of the poorest 20 percent.
  2. While, overall, Costa Rica’s poverty rate has dropped from 22.4 percent to 21.7 percent from 2014 to 2015, the country’s extreme poverty rate rose from 5.8 percent to 7.2 percent, the highest recorded rate in the last 60 years.
  3. While 19 percent of urban households live in poverty and 5.2 percent live in extreme poverty, 30.3 percent of rural households live in poverty and 10.6 percent in extreme poverty.
  4. Poor Costa Ricans have, on average, three years less schooling than their economically stable peers.
  5. In Costa Rica, 43.5 percent of poor households are headed by women.
  6. Since an inflation crisis in the ’80s and ’90s, the Costa Rican government has managed to boost the economy through international tourism and exports. These sectors benefit qualified workers, while unskilled workers, over-represented by indigenous and minority groups, see no change or a decrease in their salaries.
  7. Public assistance to poor families increased by 9.3 percent per household and 6.9 percent per person from 2014 to 2015.

Costa Rica’s poverty rate seems to be sewed up neatly on the surface, but the growth of a country doesn’t always reflect the growth of its people. The disparity of incomes and opportunities between uneducated people in rural areas versus educated people in urban areas threatens to rob Costa Rica of its good economic reputation.

Sophie Nunnally

Photo: Flickr

Equatorial Guinea's Poverty Rate
Despite being one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies and a major producer of oil, Equatorial Guinea’s poverty rate is high due to institutional weaknesses and corruption that restrict the country’s ability to provide basic services to its people.

With a population of approximately one million people, Equatorial Guinea ranks 138 out of 188 countries in the Human Development Index for social and economic development, despite a per capita gross national income of $21,056 in 2014, the highest in Africa.

Oil has been a source of economic growth in Equatorial Guinea for the past five years, but due to corruption under President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, who uses oil revenues to fund the lifestyles of the elite, poverty persists. The government invests an imbalanced ratio between infrastructure and health and education.

While the African Union’s development model prioritizes spending on health and education, the government spends around $80 out of every $100 on infrastructure and only $2 to $3 each on health and education.

The African Union does not prioritize Equatorial Guinea in its efforts to eradicate poverty because of its oil wealth. However, nearly half of the country’s population lacks access to clean water. In 2011, 26% of children were malnourished, and one in four children did not receive vaccinations. In 2016, 42% of children were not registered in primary schools. Only half of children finish primary school, and less than 25% begin middle school.

In a recent Human Rights Watch interview, researcher Sarah Saadoun described the mismanagement and high-level corruption in Equatorial Guinea. Saadoun explained that the display of wealth by the president’s family and other officials next to such poverty shows a contrasting picture of a country’s poverty despite its obvious wealth.

“What we found—unequivocally—is that the government has violated its obligation to realize people’s right to health and education…and it is hampering the government’s ability to deliver education, health and clean water to Equatorial Guineans,” Saadoun stated.

Equatorial Guinea’s poverty rate cannot improve if the country does not tackle corruption from within and invest in its companies and resources and receive foreign investments. Unless new reserves are found, the country’s oil will run out by 2035. Equatorial Guinea can become prosperous through poverty reduction if it makes smart moves before an economic crisis ensues.

Sarah Dunlap

Photo: Flickr

India has made incredible progress in efforts to decrease its population’s degree of poverty and improve the quality of life of its citizens throughout the last 20 years. The poverty rate in India fell from 45.3 to 21.9 percent between 1993 and 2011, and it continues to drop each year.

Behind only China, India is the second most-populated nation in the world with over 1.3 billion citizens. Additionally, India still houses one-third of the world’s poor, despite a 50 percent drop.

There is thus a two-way focus on India in achieving the World Bank’s Millennium Development Goals of defeating global poverty by 2030. While it is a clear example of successful aid and development, the nation still has a long way to go.

Despite its struggles, India has still transformed into one of the world’s fastest growing economies. India is an influential member of the G20, and it now acts as an important participant in international affairs.

The United States has provided a great deal of aid to India over the last two decades. Consequently, its dramatic improvement is proof that nations that once appeared hopeless can succeed in the global market.

In a blog post, Bill Gates cited India’s resurrection as “phenomenal.” Further, India “deserves recognition especially now, as rich countries consider whether to continue investing in global development assistance despite all the economic problems they face at home.”

Despite these developments, it is important to remember that there are still 400 million Indians living in extreme poverty. UNICEF has instituted programs that target these issues. These campaigns work to reduce neonatal deaths; increase child growth and development; protect children’s learning environment; and empower adolescents.

USAID plans to continue investing in the country’s healthcare, water, education, and energy. The G20 Summit will hopefully provide further opportunities to develop a plan that will eradicate poverty. Until world poverty has all but disappeared, India remains an unfinished success story.

Emily Trosclair

Photo: Flickr


The poverty rate in Afghanistan is currently at 39 percent, accounting for all Afghan citizens living below the poverty line. This translates to 1 in 3 citizens who are unable to satisfy their basic needs.

This high poverty rate is not only an increase of three percent from 2011 to 2012, but it is also demonstrative of the 15 years of economic and social progress that is increasingly at risk in the nation. According to the World Bank’s Poverty Status Update Report, since the beginning of the withdrawal of international forces in 2011 and of the political transition period, Afghanistan has suffered deteriorating security and employment opportunities despite general economic growth.

The World Bank’s report stated that one of the main reasons for the increased poverty rate is the significant decline in labor market conditions, a setback that hurts rural and youth populations the most. Between 2011 and 2014, rural poverty increased by 14 percent while urban poverty remained unchanged.

These numbers reflect the social inequalities deeply ingrained in Afghan society that are stressed in times of hardship, insecurity or crisis. Afghans living in urban settings are simply better protected and have better access to economic opportunities and health services than those who live in rural areas. Gender inequality is still overwhelming in Afghanistan, illustrated by a sharp decline in girls’ primary school attendance congruent with the rise in poverty.

In Afghanistan’s rural areas, 90 percent of women and 63 percent of men are illiterate. Furthermore, these men and women are also heavily dependent on livestock and agriculture for a decent portion of their income. A basic lack of resources, harsh climate conditions and years of conflict have made rural livelihoods difficult and vulnerable to any peril.

Fortunately, Afghanistan’s economy is predicted to eventually rebound; however, in order to reduce poverty going forward, areas of struggle and fragility must be addressed and prioritized. To promote future progress, health and education services need to be made more accessible to everyone and youth need to be integrated into the labor force.

Overall, to reduce the poverty rate in Afghanistan, the state needs to focus on more comprehensive, particularly rural, development to close the wide gap between the upper and lower classes and cultivate a more equal, prosperous population.

Catherine Fredette

Photo: Flickr


Poverty in the Solomon Islands poverty rateThe Solomon Islands is an archipelago of 992 tropical islands residing between Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu. The country has a population of 555,000 predominantly Melanesian citizens. Poverty in the Solomon Islands is a prevailing issue.

Factors Exacerbating Poverty in the Solomon Islands

UNICEF reports that this country is one of the poorest pacific islands as it is still recovering from recent civil conflict. In addition, the islands are consistently victims of natural disaster; they experienced five tropical cyclones, two volcanic eruptions and one tsunami in 2010 alone.

The Solomon Islands are located in a “ring of fire” or a zone of active volcanoes that also comprises 90 percent of the world’s earthquakes. The earthquake in January 2010 registered at a 7.2 magnitude. It left one-third of the population on the island of Rendova without a home, The Guardian reports.

Due to the abundance of devastating natural disaster, the infrastructure of the country is also under great pressure as those facing poverty move to urban areas. Caritas Australia reports that less than only one of every three islanders had access to sufficient sanitation facilities in 2012.

Natural disasters, political unrest and movement of displaced people have made poverty in the Solomon Islands a serious issue. The Asian Development Bank reports that 22.7 percent of the population lives below the poverty line.

Evidence of this can be seen as medical issues are often not tended to at a proper time. Lack of connectivity between the islands makes it difficult for doctors and medical professionals to reach certain islands regularly and especially in emergency situations.

Members of UNICEF experienced this first hand as they traveled to the Vella la Vella island by way of a forty-minute boat ride, wading through water to reach land and walking along a gravel road to the islands’ only medical facility.

UNICEF worked with the staff to train and equip them through improved immunization services, prenatal and delivery care and programs designed to prevent HIV.

The organization has implemented a number of other programs in the islands such as aiding hospitals in reconstruction after damage due to the tsunami, along with expanded birth registration and counseling. UNICEF’s ultimate goal is to set-up opportunities that will enable medical facilities of the Solomon Islands to run efficiently on their own.

“It is very important that both UNICEF and other international donors when providing assistance… ensure that the assistance given lays the foundation for sustainable change in the communities that we aim to help,” said Andrei Dapkiunas, a permanent United Nations Representative and UNICEF partner.

UNICEF is not the only organization providing hope for the country. Caritas Australia, whose goal is to “end poverty, promote justice, uphold dignity” supports programs in the islands that teach social justice in schools. Over 5,000 children have been introduced to themes of equality, leadership, peacebuilding and environmental stewardship.

In light of the physical dangers the islanders face, the organization has provided teachers with curriculum instructing children how to prepare for natural disasters through nursery rhymes and games.

This country faces greater challenges than most due to its location on the globe, but the future is not without hope for these resilient people. Through programs and organizations working to build sustainable change, it is possible to combat poverty in the Solomon Islands.

Rebecca Causey

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in South Korea Poverty Rate 2016
In 2012, speakers and screens worldwide played “Gangnam Style,” a song that illustrated the life of the city that contains seven percent of South Korea’s GDP in an area of 15 square miles. The hit surpassed two billion views on YouTube, but the opulence within the video is in no way representative of the true poverty in South Korea.

However, beneath the luxury, technology, and consumerism that characterize the nation is a forgotten and struggling generation largely responsible for transforming South Korea into a modern economy — the elderly.

Elderly Disproportionately Affected by Poverty in South Korea

Every Thursday, seniors line up for hours outside churches to receive the equivalent to 50 cents and a juice box or a banana. Organizers of this short-term relief program for poverty in South Korea report 300 to 500 seniors at each church every week.

“Half of the elderly is poor in [South] Korea. So it’s really a very serious problem,” Seoul National University professor Ku In-hoe told NPR. The country has the highest elderly poverty rate of the 34 developed nations.

The elderly living in poverty in South Korea earn 50% or less of the median household income, which amounts to U.S. $9,890 per year, according to the IB Times.

The government does provide alleviation with pensions of $200 per month for the retired, but the National Pension Research Institute Survey revealed this amounts to merely a quarter of the minimum income needed for single households. Furthermore, only an estimated 35% of seniors receive the pension.

While 7.9% of households with a retired senior describe their living expenses as “comfortable,” 41.7% rated them as “inadequate” and 20.4% as “extremely inadequate”.

Those living in poverty in South Korea increasingly rely on loans to survive. The national household debt recently topped US $971.6 billion, or 81% of the South Korean GDP.

“Before the 1990s, usually younger people supported their parents during their retirement so it was not that serious of a problem,” Ku added in his interview with the NPR. “But elderly people [now] live longer, and younger people also experience economic difficulty.”

In fact, the declining birth rate in South Korea will stymie the ability of the young to meet the demands of a growing population. The most recent Korean Census shows the elderly rose from seven percent of the population in 2000 to 12% in 2013. Experts expect a continued increase as more baby boomers age and retire.

An organizer of the church and mobile soup kitchen services, Pastor Choi Won, also cites the waning of Confucian traditions as a contributor to the elderly poor in an interview with Korea Portal.

“Gone are the days when children looked after their parents,” he said. One in three seniors lives alone in South Korea.

The South Korean government plans to provide more assistance in the future, as the pension system that began in 1988 evolves. Officials predict, “90 percent of people aged 64 and over will receive pension by 2060,” according to Korea Portal.

In the meantime, churches will continue to provide additional assistance to elders who experience poverty in South Korea.

Ashley Leon

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Jamaica Poverty rate
Jamaica has struggled with poverty, unemployment and crime for the past half century, but the nation has recently seen ambitious government economic policies bear fruit. Discussed below are the leading facts about poverty in Jamaica and their implications.

8 Facts about Poverty in Jamaica

  1. Jamaica is not in extreme poverty and is regarded as a middle income country. For comparison, Jamaica has about 1/20th the GDP per capita of the United States, but a four-times-higher GDP per capita than the nearby country Haiti.
  2. Since the 1970s and 80s, Jamaica has experienced serious problems with poverty and unemployment. Through the 90s, unemployment remained around 15 percent, with poverty above 25 percent. The unemployment rate is currently 14 percent and poverty is 16 percent.
  3. A serious hindrance to Jamaica’s development has been slow rates of economic growth. In the past 30 years, Jamaica has had an average annual GDP growth rate of less than one percent. The slow growth rate is a major cause of persistent poverty in Jamaica.
  4. Relationships between Jamaican officials and crime groups cause widespread corruption, which results in many of Jamaica’s problems. The corruption not only hurts law abiding Jamaican citizens, but makes foreign investors far more hesitant to get involved in Jamaican industry.
  5. Public education in Jamaica is not entirely free. There is a registration fee and other school expenses that are not covered by the government. As a result, many of the nation’s most poor children are not able to attend school.
  6. Jamaica jumped 27 places in the 2015 Doing Business ranking, as the Jamaican government has improved its credit rating and decreased the national debt. It is hoped that the improved ranking will increase investment and alleviate poverty in Jamaica.
  7. The World Bank has a positive outlook for Jamaica’s economy, with forecasts of the country’s GDP growth rate climbing to over two percent in 2017.
  8. The Jamaican Government is currently working with the UNDP and the European Union to alleviate poverty on both a macro and micro level. Poverty alleviation and achievement of Millennium Development Goals remains a top priority for the Jamaican government.

Despite Jamaica’s history of poverty and some ongoing problems, economic forecasts for the country remain optimistic. It is possible that Jamaica will experience an economic resurgence and alleviate problems of unemployment and poverty in coming years.

John English

Photo: Pixabay