Poverty Facts and Stats - Global Issues

21st Century Poverty Facts and Stats
adapted from: http://www.globalissues.org/TradeRelated/Facts.asp

 Consider the following poverty statistics

  1. Half the world's 3,000,000,000 people live on less than $2.00 a day.
  2. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of the poorest 48 nations (of the world's countries) is less than the combined wealth of the world's 3 richest people.
  3. Nearly 1,000,000,000 people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names.
  4. From 1999-2000, less than 1% of the world's yearly weapon sales was needed to put every child into school. It didn't happen. 
  5. 51% of the world's 100 wealthiest bodies are corporations.
  6. The wealthiest nation on Earth has the widest gap between rich and poor of any industrialized nation.
  7. The poorer the country, the more likely that its debt repayments are being taken from people who neither contracted the loans nor received any of the money.
  8. 20% of the population in developed nations consume 86% of the world's goods.
  9. The top 20% of people living in the richest countries enjoy 82% of export trade and 68% of foreign direct investment. The bottom 20% of people barely receive more than 1%.
  10. In 1960, the 20% of people in the richest countries had 30 times the income of the poorest 20%.  In 1997, that ratio increased to 74 times as much.
  11. An analysis of long-term trends shows the distance between the richest and poorest countries was about:
    • 3 to 1 in 1820
    • 11 to 1 in 1913
    • 35 to 1 in 1950
    • 44 to 1 in 1973
    • 72 to 1 in 1992
  12.  1,700,000 children will die needlessly each year because world governments fail to reduce poverty levels.
  13. The developing world now spends $13.00 on debt repayment for every $1.00 it receives in grants.
  14. A few hundred millionaires now own as much wealth as the world's poorest 2,500,000,000 people.
  15. The 48 poorest countries account for less than 0.4% of global exports.
  16. The combined wealth of the world's 200 richest people hit $1,000,000,000,000 in 1999; the combined incomes of the 582,000,000 people living in the 43 least developed countries is $146,000,000,000.
  17. Of all human rights failures today, those in economic and social areas affect by far the larger number and are the most widespread across the world's nations and large numbers of people.
  18. Approximately 790,000,000 people in the developing world are still chronically undernourished, almost 66% of whom reside in Asia and the Pacific.
  19. According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty. And they die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.  That is about 210,000 children each week, or almost 11,000,000 children under age 5, each year.
  20. Globalization from 1980 - 2000 shows a very clear decline in economic progress as compared with the previous two decades [1960 - 1980].  Among the findings:
    • The fall in economic growth rates fell for most countries.
    • Progress in life expectancy also fell.
    • Progress in reducing infant mortality was also considerably slower than over the previous two decades.
    • Progress in education also slowed during the period of globalization.
  21. Today, across the world, 130,000,000,000 people live on less than $1.00 a day; 3,000,000,000 live on under $2.00 a day; 1,300,000,000 have no access to clean water; 3,000,000,000 have no access to sanitation; 2,000,000,000 have no access to electricity.
  22. The richest 50,000,000 people in Europe and North America have the same income as 2,700,000,000 poor people. The slice of the cake taken by 1% is the same size as that handed to the poorest 57%.
  23. The world's 497 billionaires have a combined wealth of $154,000,000,000,000. This is well over the combined gross national products of all sub-Saharan Africa nations ($929,300,000,000) or the oil-rich regions of the Middle East and North Africa ($134,000,000,000,000). It is also greater than the combined incomes of the poorest 50% of humanity.
  24. A mere 12% of the world's population uses 85% of its water.  These 12% do not live in the Third World.
  25. Consider the global priorities in spending in 1998
    Global Priority $U.S. Billions
    Cosmetics in the United States 8
    Ice cream in Europe 11
    Perfumes in Europe and the United States 12
    Pet foods in Europe and the United States 17
    Business entertainment in Japan 35
    Cigarettes in Europe 50
    Alcoholic drinks in Europe 105
    Narcotics drugs in the world 400
    Military spending in the world 780

    And compare that to what was estimated as additional costs to achieve universal access to basic social services in all developing countries:

    Global Priority $U.S. Billions
    Basic education for all 6
    Water and sanitation for all 9
    Reproductive health for all women 12
    Basic health and nutrition 13


  26. Number of children in the world: 2,200,000,000
    Number in poverty: 1,000,000,000 (every second child)
    For the 1,900,000,000 children from the developing world, there are:
    • 640,000,000 without adequate shelter (1 in 3)
    • 400,000,000 with no access to safe water (1 in 5)
    • 270,000,000 with no access to health services (1 in 7)
    Children out of education worldwide
    Survival for children
    • 10,600,000  died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy)
    • 1,400,000  die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation
    Health of children
    • 2,200,000 children die each year because they are not immunized
    • 15,000,000 children orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total children population in Germany or United Kingdom)
  27. The total wealth of the top 8,300,000 people around the world rose 8.2% to $30,800,000,000,000 in 2004, giving them control of nearly a 25% of the world's financial assets. In other words, about 0.13% of the world's population controlled 25% of the world's assets in 2004.
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