Global Poverty Fact Sheet

Global Poverty Fact Sheet
Global Poverty: What is it?

Approximately 21 percent of people (1.2 billion) in the developing world live in extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1.25 (USD) per day.

Poverty rates are highest among children ages 0-12, which make up one-third of all poor in the developing world. 1

These numbers are reflective of a more than 50 percent reduction in extreme poverty rates since 1981, when 1.94 billion people lived in extreme poverty. 2

An Indonesian boy is walking out of his house. His bicycle is parked next to a slat fence to his right. The house is covered with tin and tarpaulins for the walls and a tin roof. There is a yellow flag on the roof

The Poverty Wheel

A wheel can serve as a good representation of the problem of poverty.

The hub represents absolute poverty. The spokes represent the different needs of those in poverty. The rim represents enough.

Our mission is to bring children from the hub (poverty) to the rim (enough).
Key Statistics

Great improvements have been made among the world’s most poverty stricken regions:

  • 700 million fewer people lived in extreme poverty in 2010 than in 1990. 3
  • Twenty-nine percent of countries have halved child malnutrition or are on track. 3
  • The global number of child deaths before age 5 has been nearly cut in half since 1990, from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 48 in 2012. 4
  • Since 1990, 2.3 billion people gained access to improved sources of drinking water, and 1.9 billion people gained access to improved sanitation. 5
Additional Quick Facts About:
Our Strategy

Since its inception in 1952, Compassion International has been working to release children from poverty by addressing each child’s physical, spiritual, social and economic needs.

Through the Child Sponsorship Program, Compassion-registered children begin to see that they are worthy of a life outside of poverty. This kind of positive change has a ripple effect on families and communities.

An Ethiopian woman sits on a stoop with a young boy

Compassion’s Child Sponsorship Program is a holistic, long-term approach to breaking the generational cycle of poverty. The program allows a sponsor to invest in the life of a child through a $38 monthly commitment that provides that child with physical, social, spiritual and economic care and training.

Through this one-to-one relationship, sponsors are encouraged to write letters to their children, filling the children's minds and spirits with love, support and hope so that they can be further encouraged to defeat poverty and pursue their dreams.

Children in the program receive:

  • Formal primary school education (as defined in their local context)
  • Participation in cognitive learning beyond primary school (e.g. formal secondary school, vocational school, apprenticeship, income generating skill training)
  • Service activities
  • Extracurricular activities, including sports, field trips, the arts and computers
  • The completion of a life-planning document that helps youth age 12 and up think ahead and identify their own developmental path
  • Immunizations and treatment for injuries and illnesses
  • Supplemental nutrition as needed
  • Bible-based learning
  • Love, protection and individualized care from local church staff and volunteers who know each child by name

1 World Bank, The State of the Poor, 2013
2 The World Bank, Poverty Overview, 2014
3 World Bank, Millennium Development Goals, 2015
4 World Health Organization (WHO), Child Mortality Fact Sheet No. 178, 2013
5 World Health Organizations (WHO)/UNICEF, Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014

U.S. Media Contacts

Tim Glenn: (719) 272-5377

Becca Bishop: (719) 272-5109

For all non-media related inquiries, please call (800) 336-7676, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. MT.