Social Facts

Quick Facts About Social Issues
Get the facts about social issues in developing countries and how they affect children and their families.

graphic representing facts about social issues

Poverty is a complex issue. Gender inequality, high birth rates, violence, conflict and human rights violations are a few of the many social issues faced by children living in developing countries.

Compassion-assisted children have a chance to confront the social issues in their lives. Sponsored children recieve education, health care and vocational training to help them escape the cycle of poverty and overcome social obstacles.

"Few can understand the worsening plight of families in developing countries more than those who are rising above it. And who better to defeat these societal ills than those who have lived through it?"
 — Wess Stafford, Compassion President Emeritus

With the right resources, many of these facts about social issues can be easily addressed and overcome.

  • Approximately 54 percent the world’s population now lives in cities and towns. A proportion that is expected to increase to 66 percent in 2050.

A 10-year old Peruvian boy smiles with his arm and hand stretched out showing his city.

  • 2.4 billion people or 39 percent of the world’s population live without access to improved sanitation. The vast majority live in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • 761 million people share their sanitation facilities with other households or only use public facilities.
  • At least 1.1 billion people globally do not have electricity in their homes, and approximately 54 percent of people in developing countries lack access to modern forms of energy.
  • Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
  • The majority of the world’s poor are women.
  • On average, women live four years longer than men globally.
  • Women’s life expectancy at birth is more than 80 years in 46 countries, but only 58 years in the World Health Organization African Region.
  • Girls are far more likely than boys to suffer sexual abuse.
  • 35 percent of women in the world have been raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise violently abused in their lifetimes.
  • An estimated one in five women will be a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime.
  • Around the world, 225 million women want to prevent pregnancy but are not using any method of contraception.
  • The average income of the richest 10 percent of the population is about nine times that of the poorest 10 percent, up from seven times 25 years ago.
  • Women occupy only 25 percent of parliamentary seats around the world.
"To overcome the plagues of our world today — poverty, disease, injustice — we need leaders who are fully equipped with a quality education, yet walk the path of Christ."
 — Wess Stafford, Compassion President Emeritus

Margaret Makhoha, a Compassion alumnae, became a member of the Ugandan parliament in 2011.

  • 2 million children died as a result of armed conflict during the past decade and another six million were injured or disabled, according to UNICEF estimates.

Sources: United Nations, World Bank, World Health Organization, UNICEF, Population Action International, International Women's Democracy Center and