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Poverty: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow, Always.

Updated on August 1, 2016
The 2015 Data Report: Putting the Poorest First. Here are some more facts on extreme poverty! Click the link for more infographics!
The 2015 Data Report: Putting the Poorest First. Here are some more facts on extreme poverty! Click the link for more infographics! | Source

Did You Know?

Did you know that three million children around the world die every year from malnutrition? Can you fathom if every child between the ages of 0 and 4 in the states of New Jersey, Connecticut, New York, Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, and D.C. died? That is roughly the three million children described. Malnutrition is a serious issue; and the main link to malnutrition is poverty.

Less than one percent of the United States budget goes to fighting extreme poverty. Let that sink in.

Devastating Facts About Poverty

  • Impoverished people in developing countries spend 60%-80% of their money on food; while Americans spend only 10% on average.
  • 1.2 billion people live off of $1.25 per day.
  • More than one-third of Africa has an inferior drinking water supply-leading to malnutrition and dehydration. If they choose to drink it, which is most cases because of thirst, they can and will contract and develop diseases.
  • Americans spend more money on Halloween than the entire world spends on Malaria in a year.- Enough said on this one. A piece of candy for your thoughts?
  • The Dallas Cowboys' stadium uses more electricity than Liberia.- During peak demand on game days the stadium produces up to 10 megawatts of electricity while Liberia is only able to pump less than a third of that amount into their national grid.
  • There are four billion metric tons of food produced in the world- and one-fourth up to one-third of it is lost in transportation or production-or wasted.
  • Collectively, Diarrhea and Pneumonia kill more children than Malaria, AIDS, and Tuberculosis combined.- However, Hunger is the number one cause of death in the world, killing more than all of those terrible things listed. No one should have to die from these diseases seeing as they are all preventable and treatable, excluding AIDS.
  • Despite having 12.5% of the worlds population, Africa uses less than 3% of it's energy.- The United States uses 19% of the worlds energy with only 4.4% of the world's population; because we can afford it. Possible solution: We need to use our energy wisely and accordingly and maybe we can donate a portion of the money we would save every year to third-world countries-like Africa- that need what we managed to save.

There's a lot of food...in the trash.

How can we fight poverty as a whole?

Poverty is caused by insufficient funds in a country leading to poor health care, inadequate supply of drinking water and food, extremely poor sanitation, and incompetent educational systems.

Creating jobs is a great and practical way to fight poverty. "When people have jobs, they create income; and when more people have income, they can more easily get themselves out of poverty." Said Taylor Prinsen of Borgen Magazine. Unemployment and underemployment makes it difficult for families when labor is the only asset available to improve their well-being.

Low literacy rates are all too common in poverty afflicted areas; which encourages the setbacks that are caused by it. Uneducated countries can't be relied upon by their people to advance due to the lack of learning enabled people. An absence of educational development means the citizens of the distressed nation must lean on other nations and organizations that are generous enough to provide proper schooling.

Raising the minimum wages for full-time workers can also improve the health and well-being of people, especially in developing nations today. 80% of the world's population makes less than $10 per day, making it extremely difficult to pull themselves out of poverty.

Poor nutrition from the time of contraception to 24 months postpartum can lead to mental and physical disabilities later in life for that child. If we were to provide pregnant mothers and infants with at least adequate nutrition, that child will be able to fully contribute to the development of their household and community as an adult. Malnutrition prevents people from working to the full extent of their capabilities, making it difficult for them to pull themselves out of poverty.

What if we helped provide access to clean and safe drinking water to underdeveloped countries? Women would be able to spend the time it would take to retrieve water to work and generate a higher outcome of the goods they produce. The "arm and a leg" they would be paying for goods and services would lower greatly, and agricultural production would ascend to exceptional heights. Also, safe drinking water could decline the health care costs of those with diseases linked to unsafe water consumption.

What Can You Do To Fight Poverty?

Fighting poverty alone sounds like a big mountain to climb-it's not-and you aren't really alone in doing it! Millions of people around the world have been helping the fight against poverty! Here's how!

  • Food drives!- Remember all the cans of soup you brought in to your school's food drive for the hungry? You can do that too! Team up with your local food bank or homeless shelter and host a food drive at your local supermarket!
  • Would you rather go through a bigger organization? DoSomething.Org allows you to do just that! You can choose from any cause and host a fundraiser! Supermarket Stakeout allows you to host a food drive outside of your local grocery store for your local food bank!
  • Donate to your local homeless shelter- Money always helps so they can make sure they get what they need, but blankets, food, necessities such as toothbrushes, combs, toothpaste, deodorant, etc. always helps too.
  • You can host other fundraisers as well by teaming up with your local Food Bank or Homeless Shelter. Get creative. Raise money. Donate!
  • You don't have to do all of these big events to fight poverty. You can simply take a few cans of non-perishable food to your food bank after work sometime or give a dollar to a beggar on the street. No, they aren't always homeless but there are levels of emotions and physical appearances that show they are truly homeless or in need and not just actors.

Do you do anything to fight poverty?

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    • Nathanville profile image

      Arthur Russ 5 months ago from England

      Another well-presented article, which I enjoyed reading. If the political will was there (and that often stems from the will of the people), Governments in the develop countries could do a lot more, and of course there are always plenty individuals can do themselves (as mentioned in your article). So I think your article and others like it all help to raise public awareness.

    • Victoria Hanna profile image
      Author

      Victoria Hanna 13 months ago from Suffolk, United Kingdom

      Hi Compunction! I agree 100%! The fact not everyone has a right to clean drinking water is immensely disturbing-and the fact the diseases you can get from bad water are one more step preventable if they had a good water source! Yes, the governments are incredibly corrupt and I feel everyone should have the right to KNOW where their money is going and how much of it goes to a particular fund.

      Poverty is no easy feat to conquer, as you said. However, I am so glad you found comfort in the fact that you are able to make a difference. Every ripple finds its' way to waves-big or small!

      Also, if you were to host a fundraiser or food drive, you could always find an Association or Foundation that goes on mission trips, and specifically tell them the money is for the houses they are building or to divide it up amongst the families there! Maybe even find a homeless man on the street and give him some supplies like a tooth brush and a comb or something! Everything helps!

      Thank you for your feedback!

    • Compunction profile image

      Compunction 13 months ago from San Diego

      Hey! Nice eye-opening read, but I feel like many of the problems you mentioned are simply the result of more deeply ingrained issues. For example, many developing countries have incompetent or corrupt governments that only worsen the issue of poverty. Moreover, on the topic of something I am more familiar with, providing access to clean drinking water in developing countries is definitely no easy feat. The current water purification processes commonly used are simply not cost-effective and accessible enough to be widely used in such areas. Although there is much work being done on making this more widely available for those in developing countries, I am not aware of any that are scalable enough to have an extremely profound effect. It's sad that the basic right to have clean water to drink is not one available to everyone.

      That said, I really like your section on what can be done to fight poverty as a whole. Although it would be amazing to be able to simply eradicate poverty, that certainly is impossible, like your title suggests. Even so, it's encouraging to be reminded that I may be able to make an impact, even if it's just a ripple, in my own backyard.