Poverty entails more than the lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion, as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. In 2015, more than 736 million people lived below the international poverty line. Around 10 per cent of the world population (pre-pandemic) was living in extreme poverty and struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation, to name a few.
While pre-pandemic global poverty rates had been cut by more than half since 2000, the COVID-19 pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8% of the total human population.
For those who work, having a job does not guarantee a decent living. In fact, 8 per cent of employed workers and their families worldwide lived in extreme poverty in 2018. One out of five children live in extreme poverty. Ensuring social protection for all children and other vulnerable groups is critical to reduce poverty.
Recent estimates for global poverty are that 9.2% of the world, or 689 million people, live in extreme poverty on $1.90 or less a day, according to the World Bank.
Money isn’t a complete measure of poverty. Other dimensions of poverty include access (or lack thereof) to work, health, nutrition, education, sanitation, housing, etc.
A study of 13 developing countries found that government spending on education and health accounted for 69% of the total reduction of economic inequality. The entire health budget of Ethiopia, a country of 105 million people, is equivalent to just 1% of the fortune of the world’s richest man, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.