Global Poverty

Whilst the causes of global poverty are contentious and experts differ widely in their views on this, the fact global poverty exists in today’s ‘global village’ is indisputable. The facts concerning global poverty are alarming and, shockingly, little known. You may be surprised and alarmed by some of the statistics listed below but these are issues which are the un-glamorous underbelly of globalization and the simple fact remains that the vast majority of the world live in conditions that the ‘advanced economies’ would class as extreme poverty.

So here are a few salient facts concerning global poverty and its pervasive nature. Poverty is one of the key global issues facing us all - along with global warming and political instability.

  • Almost 50% of the world’s population (that means in excess of 3 billion people) exist on less than the equivalent of $2.50 per day and, even more shockingly, more than 1 billion people live at the extreme ends of the poverty scale on less than $1.25 per day.
  • In addition to the statistics above, around 80% of the world’s population live on less than $10 per day. That means that almost 5 billion people live on a daily income which is the equivalent of the minimum hourly wage in a country such as the UK.
  • These levels of poverty are put into stark contrast when you consider that the poorest 40% of the world’s population only account for around 5% of global income whereas the richest 20% count for 75% of total global income.
  • About 25% of the world’s population do not have access to electricity (1.5 billion) and this figure does not include those who have only very intermittent access to power die to power shortages, the impact of civil disturbances etc.
  • At least 1 billion children are living in extreme poverty resulting in about 220,000 children per day dying as a direct result of poverty. In addition it is estimated that about 2 million children die every year as a result of diseases which are completely preventable.
  • Access to clean water is a major global problem, with over 750 million people being denied regular access to safe sources of drinking water. This has the knock-on effect of increasing the likelihood of the proliferation of transmittable diseases, poor sanitation etc.
  • 12% of the world’s population use 85% of the available drinking water.
  • Around half of the world’s population now live in urban conditions but this movement from rural to urban does not necessarily produce increased living standards as about 35% of all urban dwellers live in what could only be described as slum conditions.

This list could go on and on and the reality of global poverty continues to be one of the world’s greatest challenges. The statistics show that the income disparity between rich countries and poor countries is growing ever larger and that there is no current sign of this trend being arrested.


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