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Facts on World Hunger and Poverty

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Global Poverty Facts

  • Every day, poverty kills more than 50,000 innocent people - 18 million every year.
    Source: World Health Organization (2004 report, most recent available, current deaths may be far higher due to global economic setbacks and the rising cost of food)
  • These statistics account for one third of all human deaths. More people die as a result of extreme poverty than of any other cause.
    Source: WHO 2008
  • 1.37 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day, and 2.56 billion live on less than $2 a day. Moreover, 5.05 billion people (more than 80 percent of the world's population) live on less than $10 a day.
    Source: World Bank 2005
  • Because of the global economic slowdown and rising food prices, FAO projects 100 million more people will suffer from poverty and chronic hunger by the end of 2009 - an 11% increase from 2008.
    Source: World Food Program 2009
  • Extreme poverty is increasingly concentrated in fragile states and territories, defined as those with very weak institutions and poor policies. These areas are home to 9 percent of the population living in developing countries, but nearly 27 percent of the extreme poor. These places are often sources of war, terrorism and refugee crises.
    Source: World Bank, Global Monitoring Report 2007

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Hunger & Poverty

  • 8 million people die from lack of food and nutrition every year - about 24,000 deaths each day.
    Source: FAO Hunger Report 2008
  • Every year, 5.8 million children die from hunger related-causes. Every day, that’s 16,000 young lives lost.
    Source: FAO Hunger Report 2008

  • For the first time in history, over 1.02 billion people do not have enough to eat. That’s one sixth of humanity - more than the population of the United States, Canada and the European Union combined.
    Source: FAO Hunger Report 2008
  • There are around one billion hungry people in the world: 642 million live in Asia and the Pacific, 265 million in Sub-Saharan Africa, 53 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 42 in the Near East and North Africa. Fifteen million people in developed countries go hungry, around 1.5 percent of the total.
    Source: FAO 2010
  • The number of undernourished people in the world increased by 75 million in 2007 and 40 million in 2008, largely due to higher food prices.
    Source: FAO 2008

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Inequality & Poverty

  • The GDP (Gross Domestic Product, total of everyone's income) in the poorest 48 nations is less than the combined wealth of the world's three richest people.
    Source: Global Issues Website
  • 20% of the population in developed nations consumes 86% of the world's goods.
    Source: Global Issues Website

  • Recent studies find that prices paid by the poor in developing countries are much higher than previous thought. They cannot buy as much food with $1 as they can in a country like United States. This shows that they're even poorer than reported in  earlier studies.
    Source: World Bank 2009
  • The poorest 40% of the world’s population accounts for 5% of the global income. The richest 20% of world’s population accounts for three-quarters of world income.
    Source: Global Issues Website
  • The average yearly income of the richest 20% of people in the world is about 50 times greater than the yearly income of the poorest 20% of people.
    Human Development Report 2005

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Children & Poverty

Photo of Chinese girl with smile is sitting at her deskAll children should have good food, good education, and an active, happy life

  • Of the 2.2 billion children in the world, 600 million are victims of extreme poverty.
    Source: UNICEF 2008
  • Each year, over 10 million children in developing countries die before the age of five. More than half of these deaths are attributed to malnutrition, which claims a child's life every 5 seconds.
    Sources: World Development Indicators 2007,
    The United Nations' World Food Program
  • Under nutrition contributes to 53 percent of the 9.7 million* deaths of children under five each year in developing countries. This means that one child dies every six seconds from malnutrition and related causes.
    *Note that this statistic is different from the bullet point just above, due to different year of study: UNICEF 2005
  • Every year more than 10 million children die of hunger and preventable diseases - that’s over 30,000 per day, or one every 3 seconds.
    Source: Global Poverty Facts
  • Approximately 146 million children in developing countries, about 1 out of 4, are underweight.
    Source: The United Nations' World Food Program
  • An estimated 250 million preschool children are vitamin A deficient. An estimated 250,000 to 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year. Half of them die within 12 months of losing their sight. This is easily corrected with an inexpensive vitamin supplement.

  • Source: World Health Organization
  • It is estimated that 684,000 child deaths worldwide could be prevented by increasing access to vitamin A and zinc
    World Food Program 2007

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Clean Water & Sanitation

Photo of the water dropWe all need water to live

  • 1.1 billion people don't have safe water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.
    Human Development Report 2006
  • Dirty water and poor sanitation account for the vast majority of 1.8 million child deaths each year from diarrhea - almost 5,000 every day - making it the second largest cause of child mortality. .
    Source: Human Development Report 2006
  • Deaths from diarrhea can usually be prevented with very inexpensive oral rehydration salts.
    Source: Child Health Research Project

  • Poor sanitation and drainage contribute to malaria, which claims the lives of 1.3 million people a year, 90% of which are children under the age of five.
    Source: Human Development Report 2006

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Photo of school children working at their desksWorking at learning for a better life 

Education & Poverty

Foreign Aid

  • If you subtract foreign aid given for military or strategic reasons, the figure may be only $13.94 billion, about 13 cents per day per American.
    Source: Bread for the World
  • Each year, immigrants send over $400 billion in remittances to their families in developing nations. This bypasses corrupt bureaucracies and goes direct to those in need.
  • Total global foreign aid is estimated at only $135 billion a year.

More stats: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats

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