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Extreme Poverty: Life on $1 a Day

Updated on October 9, 2014
Life in Extreme Poverty
Life in Extreme Poverty | Source

One in five people in the world live on less than $1 a day.

Globalization in recent years has only continued to make the rich countries even richer, and the poorest nations poorer. With all the recent developments in technology, medicine, and agriculture, ending global poverty should seem realistic.

Unfortunately, despite all of these advances in modern science, technology and medicine, we are no closer today to ending extreme poverty than we have been since the dark ages.

UN Development Goals

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight objectives to eliminate certain international 'wrongs' and make the world a better place, which were officially established following the UN Summit of 2000.
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are eight objectives to eliminate certain international 'wrongs' and make the world a better place, which were officially established following the UN Summit of 2000. | Source

UN Development Goals

The UN certainly thought ending poverty was a realistic goal, as evidenced when they established their Millennium Development Goals back in 2000. One of the most highly anticipated goals was the effort to reduce the number of people living in poverty by half, by 2015.

With the 2015 deadline fast-approaching, it doesn't appear that we as a global society are any closer to achieving this goal.

Wealthy nations were enthusiastic, and agreed to pledge 7% of their national incomes, while the poorer nations agreed to several reforms which would ensure the aid was spent effectively. Since less than 1% of national income is needed, the question is only whether they will make the elimination of the worlds extreme poverty a priority.

"If the world cannot address the issue of global poverty, it would seem as though industrialized society has failed. Many argue that governments in the wealthiest countries should make an effort to increase, and not reduce, overseas development aid when attempting to cut public spending."
-Economist Jeffrey Sachs and the Director of the UN Human Development Report,Sakiko Fukuda wrote, in their piece, "If We Cared To, We Could Defeat It."

International Trade and Poverty

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has stated that international trade barriers hurt developing companies greatly. These nations which receive economic aid could be making twice what they receive from aid agencies, if the wealthy countries would simply open up their boarders to trading with these nations. As of now, many governments perfer to only trade with equally wealthy countries and simply donate to the poorer countries almost half of what they could have earned from participating in fair trade practices.

Children should never have to go hungry.
Children should never have to go hungry. | Source

Your Impact on the Globe

What would you to to help those in need?

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How can we make change?

One of the most important ways to end poverty is to develop a sound societal infrastructure, such as building schools, hospitals, water sanitation systems, and other important resources for those who could not normally afford these luxuries. The financial aid given to these regions should not be centralized, but rather dispersed through local communities, volunteer organizations, and assistance groups like the Red Cross, rather than simply granted unto the government.

In fact, financial aid could be redirected to government reforms, such as increasing transparency in government actions and ensuring that the leaders have the best interest of their people at heart. It requires the participation of both the donors and the recipients to ensure that the funds are used in the best way possible for those suffering in poverty.

It is almost unimaginable to think that 1/5 of the population of our world today lives each day of their lives on $1 a day. They are able to feed their families, care for their homes, and educate their children in a daily salary equivalent to the value of 4 U.S. quarters. Even most arcade games cost more today than what the poor of the world have to spend on food per diem. This is an appalling example of the extent of economic disparity today, and we all should be aware of it, and make a conscious effort to ensure that millions do not have to suffer from the cruel results of poverty.

Percentage of the World in Poverty

Percentage of the world in poverty
Percentage of the world in poverty | Source


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    • Jonas Rodrigo profile image

      Jonas Rodrigo 

      3 years ago

      The officials in my country say that anyone who has at least 50 pesos (1$) a day on their pockets, they are not considered poor. No wonder we're still a backlogged agriculture nation. It is sad.

    • Anne Harrison profile image

      Anne Harrison 

      3 years ago from Australia

      A tragic reminder.If you have a change of clothes, a roof over your head and food for today, youre better off than at least 1/3 of the world's population. So often I feel - what difference can I make? Supporting established charities which bypass corrupt governments and help build local infrastructure is a start, as is maintaining awareness. Great hub.

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 

      3 years ago from Shimla, India


    • my_girl_sara profile image

      Cynthia Lyerly 

      3 years ago from Georgia

      In my opinion, it's the governments of these nations that keep the countries in poverty through lack of stability or unrest, high taxes, and lack of freedom. Take a look at the degrees of economic freedom from this chart.

      The less free we are, the less we can do for ourselves and are beholden to our corrupt governement.

    • Buildreps profile image


      3 years ago from Europe

      That are tragic facts. I recently read a report that even 60% of the population lives on less the $4 per day. So, it seems there is a long way to go for the poorest. What's even more tragic is that if the richest would share 'just' 50% of their wealth with the 50% poorest, no one had to suffer in poverty. Great issue!


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