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Global Poverty

The world may be categorized into seven major areas for ease of study and understanding. They are: Latin America and the Caribbean; the Middle East and North Africa; Africa—Sub-Sahara; Europe, and Central Asia; East Asia and the Pacific; South Asia; and North America.

In a major study of global poverty, the World Bank (2001) estimated that 1.2 billion people lived in poverty in these seven major areas. Additionally, UNICEF (2001) reported that in a $30 trillion global economy, this figure represents one-fourth of the human race that is living in conditions of almost unimaginable suffering and want. Nearly 1 billion people in the world are illiterate. Approximately 1.3 billion people lack safe water. Over one-half of the developing world's population (2.6 billion people) is without access to adequate sanitation.

The United Nations Department of Public Information (1996) estimated that more than twothirds of the world's poor people live in only ten African and Asian countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, central and western China, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. In Africa, the majority of the countries that are poor gained their independence from European colonial powers in the second half of the twentieth century. In Asia, most of the poverty is concentrated in the southern and eastern areas.

More than a billion people still live on less than $1 a day (World Bank 2001). The majority of the world's poor people are women and children. Most of these reside in rural areas. More than 110 million children of school age do not attend school. Easily preventable diseases (pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, and measles) account for the deaths of nearly eleven million children under the age of five each year. Between 600 million and 700 million children, representing about 40 percent of all those in the developing world, are poor (World Summit for Social Development and Beyond web site).

Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaOther Marriage & Family TopicsPoverty - Definition Of Poverty, Global Poverty, Measuring Poverty, Welfare Response, Categories Of Dependence, Weakened Families And Kinship Systems