Global Poverty and Hunger
Around the world, more than 780 million people live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per person per day, an amount which is impossible to support a healthy livelihood in any part of the world.
Poverty Leads to Hunger
One in three children in low- and middle-income countries suffers from chronic undernutrition. Without a sustainable source of income at a sufficient level, young children and their families do not have access to nutritious food, clean water or health care. And the deadly effects of undernutrition cannot be underestimated:
45% of all child deaths worldwide are from causes related to undernutrition (World Health Organization, 2018).
At Action Against Hunger, we believe that no child should die from hunger. We help over 17 million people every year gain access to sustainable sources of income, clean water, nutritious food, and health care, but there is still so much to be done.
Global Poverty Facts
Here are some statistics that show the scale of global poverty and its devastating effects.
- 780 million people, 11 percent of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty on less than $1.90 per day.
- At least 14 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition around the world. Severe acute malnutrition is the direct cause of death for 2 million children every year.
- Every day, 1,000 children under 5 die from illnesses like diarrhea, dysentery, and cholera caused by contaminated water and inadequate sanitation.
Where Is Extreme Poverty?
Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the largest number of people living in extreme poverty. See below for a breakdown of where people living with less than $1.90 per day are located.
- 413.3 million in Sub-Saharan Africa
- 216.4 million in South Asia
- 47.2 million in East Asia and Pacific
- 25.9 million in Latin America and the Caribbean
- 18.6 million in the Middle East and North Africa
- 7.1 million in Europe and Central Asia
Children Living in Extreme Poverty
It is estimated that 104 million children under 5 are living in extreme poverty, while that number extends to 328 million for children under 18 (World Bank, 2016).
Children suffer the most when living in poverty. Their young, developing bodies are less resilient to the effects of living without clean water, food or health care. As a result, many children living in poverty suffer from malnutrition and disease. If left untreated—which is common due to limited access to health care—they cannot survive. It is estimated that less than a third of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition receive treatment.
Watch the story of 13-year-old Keynyang, a brave young boy trying to support his family after conflict forced them to flee their home in South Sudan. With no money or food, his family is trying to survive by eating leaves.
Keynyang’s story demonstrates that extreme poverty is often the result of external factors that are far beyond the family’s control. However, with the right support, there is hope. We have 40 years of experience of saving lives and supporting self-sufficiency for some of the world’s most vulnerable populations. We are able to help communities become more resilient to external factors that cause extreme poverty, and help families recover from natural disasters or forced displacement.
Solutions to Poverty and Hunger
Hunger and undernutrition are often linked to extreme poverty and lack of access to available, sufficient, nutritious food.
Action Against Hunger’s food security and livelihoods programs aim to empower vulnerable communities to improve their access to food, income, and markets. We train and build the capacity of small-scale farmers to increase production, and safely store and market their crops.
In humanitarian emergencies, we provide cash transfers or cash-for-work programs to help families in crisis buy food and support local markets while also enabling them to make their own choices about their most urgent needs.
Our nutrition and health programs provide lifesaving treatment to children suffering from the deadliest form of hunger: acute malnutrition. We partner with parents and communities to educate and change behaviors – helping to prevent malnutrition and to spot signs of the illness early.
We reach more than 17 million people with lifesaving programs in 45+ countries.
We are there for children and families before and after disaster strikes. We enable people to provide for themselves, see their children grow up strong, and for whole communities to prosper. We constantly search for more effective solutions, while sharing our knowledge and expertise with the world. We push for long-term change. We will never give up. Until the world is free from hunger.
Originally published by Action Against Hunger, republished with permission for educational, non-commercial purposes.