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Top 10 International Poverty Statistics


  1. Nearly half of the world’s population lives on less than $2.50 a day. More than 1.3 billion live in extreme poverty (less than $1.25 a day). In the developed world it is hard to fathom living on $2.50 a day, yet almost 3 billion people do so in their daily lives. The World Bank sets the extreme poverty line at $1.25 a day, and over 1.3 billion people live on such an extremely low income.
  2. More than 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity and modern forms of energy. Electricity is necessary for modern development, yet so many people are denied its use. With climate change on the rise, it is ever more important to find sustainable, renewable energy sources for the world’s poor.
  3. 1 billion children worldwide are living in poverty. According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day due to poverty. Many of these children live in single parent households, as many parents die from treatable diseases or leave their families for less poverty-stricken areas.
  4. 80% of the world population lives on less than $10 a day. Although it is not as extreme as $1.25 or even $2.50 a day, most in the developed world can’t imagine living on $10 a day. In fact, the poverty line in the US is set at just over $30 a day. Yet an overwhelming majority of the world’s population lives at less than a third of that.
  5. Preventable diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia take the lives of 2 million children a year who are too poor to afford proper treatment. Diarrhea takes many  lives annually, when just access to proper water supply could reduce around 40% of all cases.
  6. Women produce half of the world’s food, work two-thirds of the world’s working hours, earn only 10% of the world’s income, and own less than 1% of the world’s property.
  7. Women make up around 70% of the world’s 1 billion poorest people. Women’s empowerment and equality is the silver bullet to ending poverty. Enabling women to get the same opportunities as men, such as access to credit and education, would lift whole communities out of poverty. Women are much more likely than men to reinvest their wealth into their local communities.
  8. About 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation – roughly two-fifths of the world’s population. The global water, sanitation and health crisis has reached an incredible level, to the point where it will soon not only be the developing world which is affected by it.
  9. Of the 22 countries where more than half the population is illiterate, 15 are in Africa. This underscores the fact that Africa, despite its vast natural resources, is the most underdeveloped and neglected continent on the globe.
  10. It would cost approximately $40 billion to offer basic education, clean water and sanitation, reproductive health for women, and basic health and nutrition to every person in every developing country. $40 billion may sound like a lot, but it is less than the operational cost of two US aircraft carriers (which cost $26.8 billion each).

– Martin Drake

Sources: Global Issues, DoSomething.org, Compassion.com, Convio.net, Face the Facts USA
Photo: Press TV