Poverty Facts

Quick Facts About Poverty
Learn the facts about poverty and how it affects children and families in need.

poverty facts

Poverty is a devastating problem of global proportions. To be effective in fighting poverty, we need to understand the truth about it. These poverty facts shine some light onto the reality of poverty.

Poverty is a ruthless and relentless enemy with an arsenal of weapons: infant mortality, hunger, disease, illiteracy and child labor, among other things. The list of obstacles the poor most overcome seems endless. These poverty facts highlight the devastating effect poverty has on its victims, especially the most vulnerable.

  • Worldwide 600 million children are living in extreme poverty.
  • More than 1 billion children are severely deprived of at least one of the essential goods and services they require to survive, grow and develop.
  • The cost of eradicating world poverty is estimated at 1 percent of global income.
  • Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
On average, a child in our sponsorship program spends 4,000 hours in safe, nurturing programs, is at least 50 percent more likely to graduate college, is 14 to 18 percent more likely to have salaried employment and is 35 percent more likely to find white-collar employment as an adult.
  • 1.1 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
  • 6.3 million children under five years of age died in 2012, nearly 754 every hour.
  • 44 percent of the 6.3 million under-five deaths occurred in the neonatal (the first 28 days of life period in 2013).
  • Nearly half of all deaths in children under age 5 are attributable to undernutrition. This translates into the unnecessary loss of about 3 million young lives a year.
  • The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa – where 1 in 11 children dies before age 5.
  • The number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from more than 12 million in 1990 to 6.3 million in 2014, 6 Nearly 18,000 children under five died every day in 2011.
  • Globally, the four major killers of children in the neonatal period are preterm birth complications (35 percent), intrapartum related complications (24 percent), Sepsis (15 percent), Congenital abnormalities (10 percent) and pneumonia (5 percent).

An Indonesian mother and child walk along a muddy street

What is Poverty?

"Poverty is like punishment for a crime you didn't commit." — Eli Khamarov, writer

"As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest."
— Nelson Mandela, Former President of South Africa

"Where you live should not determine whether you live, or whether you die."
— Bono, singer-songwriter and philanthropist

More Famous Quotes About Poverty

  • Angola is the riskiest place for a newborn with 47 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • 58 percent of deaths in children under age five are caused by infectious diseases.
  • In 1981, 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (defined as living on $1.25 or less a day.) Data from the World Bank released in February 2012 estimates that 22 percent of people live in extreme poverty.
  • Country with highest number of under five deaths: India.
  • Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
  • Children under age 18 make up nearly 48 percent of the population of the world's least developed countries, compared with 21 percent of the population of the world's industrialized nations.
  • In developing countries, approximately 130 million children and teens — age 17 or under have lost one or both parents.
  • 4 billion people live outside the protection of law.