What does extreme poverty mean?
Over one billion people in our world live on less than a dollar a day, often without any kind of safety net or support, leaving them vulnerable to the following issues:
- Over 160 million children under age five do not receive enough to eat, leading to stunted growth.
- Currently, 57 million children of primary school age are not in school.
- Over 16,000 children die each day before celebrating their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes.
- The maternal mortality ratio in the developing regions of the world is 14 times higher than in the developed regions.
- Over 16 million girls ages 15-19 give birth each year and complications from birth are the second leading cause of death for that group.
- There are 4 million more girls out of school than boys, reducing the chances for women to break out of poverty.
Stunting due to malnutrition affects approximately one in four children under five, or 161 million children worldwide as of 2013. This chronic form of undernutrition puts these children at risk of diminished cognitive and physical development. Children from the poorest 20 percent of the population are more than twice as likely to be stunted and facing damaging health impacts from malnutrition as those from the wealthiest 20%.
Household wealth remains an important determinant of a child’s likelihood of attending school. For instance, survey data from 2008 to 2012 survey data of 63 developing countries shows that children in the poorest households were four times more likely to be out of school as children in the richest households.
The first day, week, and month of life are the most critical for the survival of children. Of the almost 6 million children who died before their fifth birthday in 2015, about 1 million will take their first and final breath on the day they are born. An additional 1 million will die within seven days, and around 2.8 million will die during their first 28 days of life.
Many neonatal deaths could be avoided with simple, cost-effective and high-impact interventions that address the needs of women and newborns across the continuum of care, with an emphasis on care around the time of birth. However, analysis shows that too many newborns and mothers miss out on these key interventions.
Every minute around the world, 11 children die before celebrating their fifth birthday, mostly from preventable causes.
Globally, there were an estimated 289,000 maternal deaths in 2013, equivalent to about 800 women dying each day. Maternal deaths are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, which together accounted for 86 percent of such deaths globally in 2013. Most of these deaths are preventable. One in four babies worldwide are delivered without a skilled birth attendant. A key strategy for reducing maternal morbidity and mortality is ensuring that every birth occurs with the assistance of skilled health personnel, meaning a medical doctor, nurse, or midwife.
Adolescent childbearing can have harmful consequences for the health of both adolescent girls and the children they bear. Early childbearing also reflects broader forms of social and economic marginalization of girls. Intensified efforts are urgently needed to delay childbearing and prevent unintended pregnancies among this vulnerable age group. One part of the solution is increasing their opportunities to go to school and eventually engage in paid employment. These efforts will not only improve maternal and child health, but will contribute to reduced poverty, greater gender equality and the empowerment of women. UNICEF reports that 90% of adolescent girls giving birth are married, meaning that child marriage may have the greatest impact on early birth.
To achieve universal realization of gender equality and empowerment of women, it is critical to address the key areas of gender inequality, including gender-based discrimination in law and in practice; violence against women and girls; women’s and men’s unequal opportunities in the labor market; the unequal division of unpaid care and domestic work; women’s limited control over assets and property; and women’s unequal participation in private and public decision-making. Topics such as violence against women can be difficult to track, meaning that the world’s understanding of their scope and impact is limited, therefore reducing the ability to change these dangerous dynamics.
A few other statistics
- In 2013, approximately 17.7 million children worldwide under age 18 had lost one or both parents due to AIDS-related causes.
- In 2015, one in three people (2.4 billion) still use unimproved sanitation facilities, including 946 million people who still practice open defecation.
- Today over 880 million people are estimated to be living in slum conditions in the developing world’s cities.
Source: UN’s Millennium Development Goals Report 2015.
Our understanding of the impact of poverty drives us to create change. While these numbers seem grim, the global situation is improving each year, and there are invaluable organizations working on new solutions all the time. Take action with us today and read our blog in order to join the discussion around the poverty alleviation work in action.