Bread for the World: Oregon
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Hunger and Poverty Facts


Hunger and Poverty Facts
Frequently asked questions

  • As of 2003, 852 million people worldwide suffer from hunger and undernutrition. (UN Millennium Project 2005)
  • As of 2001, 40 percent of the world, or 2.7 billion people, live on less than $2 per day. (World Bank Development Indicators, 2005)
  • From 1981 to 2001, the proportion of people living on $1 a day (or less) was cut in half. (World Bank 2004)
  • In 1981, 40 percent of the world lived on $1 a day. In 2001, 21 percent, or 1.1 billion people, lived on $1 a day.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is the only part of the world that has experienced an increase in the proportion of people living on $1 a day. In 1981, 42 percent lived on $1 a day; in 2001, the proportion had increased to almost 47 percent. (Economic Commission for Africa 2005)
  • In 2003, there were 2 million fewer child deaths per year than in 1990, and the chance of a child reaching age 5 increased by about 15 percent. (UNICEF 2005)
  • Still, almost 11 million children die each year before their 5th birthday. (UNICEF 2005)
  • About 4 million children died in 2003 from diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and measles. All of these deaths could have been prevented with vaccinations. (UN Millennium Project 2005)
  • Children who are malnourished and hungry die at much higher rates from illness due to weakened immune systems.
  • Literacy levels in developing countries have increased from 70 percent to 76 percent over the past decade. (UN Development Report 2005)
  • Yet, as of 2003, more than 115 million children were unable to attend primary school; 45.5 million of those children were in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Even if the current trend toward literacy continues, 47 million children still will be unable to attend primary school in 2015. The Millennium Development Goal is to have all children in school by 2015. (UN Development Report 2005)
  • With the help of U.S. funding, 500,000 Africans now have access to HIV drugs. (World Health Organization 2005) ? Today, 38 million people have HIV; 25 million of them are in sub-Saharan Africa. (WHO 2005)
  • In 2004, an estimated 3 million people died of HIV/AIDS, and another 5 million were infected. (WHO 2005)
By 2003, 15 million children were orphaned by AIDS. (UNAIDS 2004) Click below for information about the UN Millennium Development Goals
Millennium Development Goals In September 2000, at the United Nations Millennium Summit, 189 countries?including the United States?agreed to a set of eight time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015. These have come to be known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Poverty-focused development assistance and debt relief have already helped countries make progress toward the MDGs. Here are some examples of how aid and debt relief have been used effectively:
  • In the 1970s, targeted aid of $100 million, largely from the United States, led to the eradication of smallpox. The continuing savings on vaccinations and treatment heavily outweigh the initial investment.
  • After debt relief, Mozambique was able to spend $13.9 million to vaccinate 500,000 children against tetanus, whooping cough and diphtheria.
  • Due to $3 billion in debt relief, Tanzania redirected the money to education and eliminated school fees. Between 1999 and 2003, an additional 1.6 million children were enrolled in primary education in Tanzania. However, much more progress needs to be made. Bread for the World and other ONE Campaign partners are advocating for an additional 1 percent of the U.S. budget to be allocated to help countries meet the MDGs. If we are successful, millions of lives can be improved. Just think what this additional poverty-focused development assistance could do:
  • Building roads in rural areas could transform lives by improving access to markets, schools and medical care. The average farmer in Malawi must travel more than four miles to get their products to market, taking time, energy and strength.
  • About 37 percent of children worldwide are not immunized. If all children were immunized, 1.4 million child deaths from diseases such as measles, diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus and polio would be prevented each year.
  • Malaria accounts for about one-fourth of all child deaths in Africa, or about 1 million deaths a year. Bed nets, which cost about $3 each, could significantly reduce the incidence of malaria?but most people in developing countries cannot afford to spend $3.
  • The vast majority of the 300 million children who go to bed hungry every night suffer long-term malnourishment and micronutrient deficiency. The Micronutrient Initiative, a global partnership specializing in fighting vitamin and mineral disorders, estimates the cost of providing effective protection to 380 million African women and children to be less than $1 per person per year. After five years the cost would drop by more than half of that.
Disease transmitted through water or human waste is the second leading cause of death in the world. It would cost about $7 billion per year for the next 10 years to provide 2.6 million people with clean water.
United Nations Millennium Development Goals for 2015 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger 2. Achieve universal primary education 3. Promote gender equality and empower women 4. Reduce child mortality 5. Improve maternal health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases 7. Ensure environmental sustainability 8. Create a global partnership for development