Extreme Poverty

on Sunday, 30 December 2012. Posted in Bangladesh, Brazil, Myanmar, Burundi, The Congo, Ecuador, Ethiopia, The Facts, India, Indonesia, FAQ, Ghana, Liberia, Projects, Malawi, Mexico, Mozambique, Romania, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Extreme Poverty, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, Zambia, Papua New Guinea, The Philippines

Extreme Poverty Be A HEROAverage Gross National Income for every man, women, and child in America is $35,060. World Development Bank, 2003.

  • Of the 24 mostly Western Developed Nations (including NA, Western Europe, Australia & New Zealand etc.)  Population of 900 million, the GNI is $27,000 USD
  • Compare this to the fact that 1.2 billion people live on under $1.00 a day and 2.7 billion people live on under $2.00 USD a day.
  • 500 million people are hungry and another 500 million are so poor that they don’t consume enough food to render them productive.
  • Because of poverty 33,000 children (mostly under-five-year-olds) die every day due to preventable diseases – diarrhea, measles, malaria, and malnutrition – that is more than one child dying every 3 seconds.
  • 55% of all child deaths (17 million deaths a year) are just because the children are hungry.
  • Poverty is at the root of most of that which contributes to 'children becoming at risk'.

Reducing poverty starts with children.

More than 30 per cent of children in developing countries – about 600 million – live on less than US $1 a day.

Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.

Poverty hits children hardest. While a severe lack of goods and services hurts every human, it is most threatening to children’s rights: survival, health and nutrition, education, participation, and protection from harm and exploitation. It creates an environment that is damaging to children’s development in every way – mental, physical, emotional and spiritual.

One than 1 billion children are severely deprived of at least one of the essential goods and services they require to survive, grow and develop. Some regions of the world have more dire situations than others, but even within one country there can be broad disparities – between city and rural children, for example, or between boys and girls. An influx or tourism in one area may improve a country’s poverty statistics overall, while the majority remains poor and disenfranchised.

Each deprivation heightens the effect of the others. So when two or more coincide, the effects on children can be catastrophic. For example, women who must walk long distances to fetch household water may not be able to fully attend to their children, which may affect their health and development. And children who themselves must walk long distances to fetch water have less time to attend school – a problem that particularly affects girls. Children who are not immunized or who are malnourished are much more susceptible to the diseases that are spread through poor sanitation. Poverty exacerbates the effects of HIV/AIDS and armed conflict. It entrenches social, economic and gender disparities and undermines protective family environments.

Poverty contributes to malnutrition, which in turn is a contributing factor in over half of the under-five deaths in developing countries.  Some 300 million children go to bed hungry every day. Of these only eight per cent are victims of famine or other emergency situations. More than 90 per cent are suffering long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency.

The best start in life is critical in a child’s first few years, not only to survival but to her or his physical, intellectual and emotional development. So these deprivations greatly hamper children’s ability to achieve their full potential, contributing to a society’s cycle of endless poverty and hunger.

Fulfilling children’s rights breaks that cycle. Providing them with basic education, health care, nutrition and protection produces results of many times greater magnitude than these cost-effective interventions.  Their chances of survival and of a productive future are greatly increased – as are the chances of a truly fair and peaceful global society.

What UNICEF is doing
    © UNICEF/HQ98-0891/Pirozzi

Goal: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

Targets by 2015:
Reduce by half the proportion of people living on less than a dollar a day.
Reduce by half the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
Reducing poverty starts with children.

More than 30 per cent of children in developing countries – about 600 million – live on less than US $1 a day.

Every 3.6 seconds one person dies of starvation. Usually it is a child under the age of 5.


Some countries have made progress meeting this Goal, but success is mixed.  India and China are on track to meet the income target at least, but in a classic example of national disparities, some 221 million people in India and 142 million in China are still chronically or acutely malnourished.

More than half of undernourished people, 60 per cent, are found in Asia and the Pacific. Thirty per cent of infants born in South Asia in 2003 were underweight, the highest percentage in the world.

Most sub-Saharan African countries will likely miss both targets. The region has 204 million hungry and is the only region of the world where hunger is increasing. More than 40 per cent of Africans can not even get sufficient food on a day-to-day basis.

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