Some Statistics on Poverty

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I feel a little unqualified to write about this topic as I have very little personal experience or knowledge about poverty (aside from when you’d go to school in the cheaper looking sports shoes and all your mates would look at you and say you’re ‘pov’ 🙂 )

So when Blog Action Day came around again this year (the one day a year where thousands of bloggers unite to discuss a single issue… this year the issue being poverty) I wasn’t exactly sure what to say.

So I started doing some research and discovered that half of the worlds population is suffering from poverty. That’s a LOT of people. But what exactly is ‘poverty’?

According to Wikipedia – Poverty can be measured in terms of absolute or relative poverty. Absolute poverty refers to a set standard which is consistent over time and between countries. An example of an absolute measurement would be the percentage of the population eating less food than is required to sustain the human body (approximately 2000-2500 calories per day for an adult male).

The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than US$ (PPP) 1 per day, and moderate poverty as less than $2 a day, estimating that “in 2001, 1.1 billion people had consumption levels below $1 a day and 2.7 billion lived on less than $2 a day.”

They say a picture tells a thousand words, so to save me a lot of typing and to give you a graphical indication of these figures, here’s a world map showing the percentage of people who are undernourished followed by a map showing the percentage of people living on less than 1 dollar day in 2007/2008:


I also learnt about The Gini coefficient which is a measure of statistical dispersion most prominently used as a measure of inequality of income distribution or inequality of wealth distribution. It is defined as a ratio with values between 0 and 1: A low Gini coefficient indicates more equal income or wealth distribution, while a high Gini coefficient indicates more unequal distribution. 0 corresponds to perfect equality (everyone having exactly the same income) and 1 corresponds to perfect inequality (where one person has all the income, while everyone else has zero income). Here is a map showing the Gino coefficient ratios across the world in 2007/2008:

For more information, World Vision have put together a great resource where you can Learn About Poverty

All this information, data, statistics really blew me away because I knew that poverty was a serious issue, I just had no idea of the actual numbers and percentages of people affected by it.

So next time you’re thinking how little money you have, or when you look in the fridge and think “there’s nothing to eat” or open your closet and say “I’ve got nothing to wear”… spare a thought for the people millions of people around the world that this is a reality for.

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