Although poverty rates ultimately depend on the wealth of an individual nation, it exists in every country on the planet right now. Somewhere, at this very moment, you have a neighbor in your community who is chronically hungry. Hunger, however, is just the start of what poverty truly means.
How Poverty is Measured
Children in poverty are 5 times more likely to die of an infectious disease.
To measure poverty, the income of a household is taken into consideration. If that household’s income is 50% or less of the national median income, then they are considered to be living in poverty. Based on this measurement, here’s a sobering poverty statistic: the United States ranks second in the world based on the percentage of children who currently live in poverty right now.
Impact of Global Poverty
Poverty does not just impact children. The following facts are also a reality.
1. Over 20% of the world’s population earns less than $1.25 per day.
2. 3 million people in the United States worked full time in the last year, but still did not earn enough to bring themselves out of poverty.
3. More poverty occurs in the suburbs of metropolitan centers than it actually does within the cities themselves.
Takeaway: Although progress has been made in regards to extreme poverty, the fact remains that over a quarter of the world’s population is in poverty right now. This puts these people at risk for a number of health and welfare issues, but more importantly it puts their household at risk of continuing the cycle of poverty for another generation.
How Poverty is Changing
1. By 2017, improvements in farming methods will help the current existing farmland for rice produce 10 million more tons of food.
2. Extreme poverty rates have been cut by 50% in the last 25 years on a global scale.
3. 2 billion more people have access to clean water today than they did 25 years ago.
4. By 2030, with greater levels of education in the industrialized world, nearly 1.3 billion tons of food could be saved from going to waste each year.
5. Education enrollment in developing regions has increased to 90%.
6. Nearly 14,000 fewer children die every day.
7. Malaria deaths have fallen by 25% in the last 10 years.
8. HIV/AIDS treatments, as well as other blood treatments, have increased the quality of life and the average life span in developing regions.
Takeaway: A lot has been accomplished in reducing poverty rates, but a lot more work still needs to be done. We should celebrate our successes, but not lose sight of the fact that there are still hundreds of thousands of people who die every day from a lack of basic resources. The poverty statistics are encouraging overall, but they should also inspire everyone to be a little bit better tomorrow than they were today.
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