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21 shocking facts about global poverty

We hope you have a ghoulish weekend ahead of you full of tricks (a few), treats (lots) and plenty of pumpkin spiced lattes!

But if you want to have a REAL scare, check out our list of the most SHOCKING global poverty facts that we’re willing to bet you didn’t know.

Read on, if you dare…

1. More people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet.

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2. Americans spend more on Halloween than the entire world spends on malaria in a year.

3. 663 million people in the world—1 in 10—lack access to safe water.

4. 730 million people in sub-Saharan Africa heat their home and cook food using open fires. Which is really, really bad for your health.

5. Every year, consumers in rich countries waste almost as much food (222 million tons) as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons).


6. There are 59 million children who don’t go to school. UNESCO have provided a map of the percentage of children not in school per country in the world:

Map of children out of school globally

7. 32.2 million – over 50% of children who are not in education are girls. (Further proof that #PovertyisSexist.) This is UNESCO’s map of the gender gap for literacy:
Gender Gap School Children 2
8. Similarly, 63% or 479 million of the world’s adult illiterate population are women.


You may have seen our billboard if you live in London.


9. Every year, developing countries are robbed of more than $1 trillion that could fight poverty, disease and hunger. A stack of a trillion one dollar bills would stand 67,866 miles high and reach roughly a third of the way to the moon!

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10. The value of Africa’s oil and mining exports was more than seven times the value of international aid the continent received in 2011.

11. Only three African countries publish sufficient budget information for citizens to know what their governments are spending money on. This NEEDS to change. However, a data revolution is imminent.

12. Hunger and malnutrition are the number one risk to health in the world, greater than HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

13. Diarrhea and pneumonia together also claim more children’s lives than AIDS, malaria and TB combined. These are all preventable, treatable diseases that no one should have to die from.

14. Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries.

15. Today, 795 million people are suffering from hunger, and more than 2 billion people do not get the nutrition they need to thrive.

16. About 161 million children every year are stunted or permanently disadvantaged for life, simply from a lack of adequate nutrition.

17. If women farmers had the same access to resources as men, the number of hungry in the world could be reduced by up to 150 million.

Finally, some positive news as a treat!

18. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of 5.


19. The world achieved the first Millennium Development Goal—to halve the poverty rate among developing countries—five years ahead of schedule in 2010!

20. The share of people living in extreme poverty across the globe has declined from 37.1% in 1990 to 29.1% in 1999 to 12.7% in 2012.

21. The World Bank has predicted that the number of people living in extreme poverty will fall to 702 million people in 2015, or 9.6% of the global population–down from 12.7% in 2012.

At this rate of change, it is absolutely possible to pull the remaining people out of poverty!

But, we need help to turn those first 17 facts into fiction! Join ONE’s global movement of more than 7 million people working together to end extreme poverty NOW!

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