• February 17, 2024

1. Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa 2. Poverty in Asia 3. Poverty in Latin America 4. Poverty in Europe

Who Does Poverty Affect the Most in the World?

Poverty is a trap that people can’t escape without access to resources like clean water, financial support, education and healthcare. Lack of access to medical facilities pushes families into poverty as they must take time off work to care for sick family members.

Poor communities also are disproportionately affected by climate change, which is creating droughts and floods that destroy crops and homes.

1. Sub-Saharan Africa

Despite the progress in poverty reduction over the past decades, Africa remains one of the most impoverished regions in the world. Various factors contribute to this, such as lack of access to food and clean water, inadequate health care, high levels of debt, illiteracy, wars and other forms of violence and the presence of HIV/AIDS.

Poor people also pay the highest price when natural disasters strike. From famines to floods, they are more likely to die when these events occur. This is often because of a combination of things: poor infrastructure, limited access to water and sanitation, rampant population growth, environmental degradation and a weak economy.

Gender inequality and a history of marginalization based on race or tribe can also make life in poverty more difficult. Children and women are disproportionately affected by these issues, as well as vulnerable groups like those with disabilities or the elderly, and those living in unstable or conflict-affected areas.

2. Asia

The majority of Asia’s poor live in rural areas, where families struggle to survive on a small income. They have little in savings or assets, so when natural disasters like floods or drought hit, they’re often left with nothing to fall back on. These events are made worse by climate change, which can lead to crop failures and food shortages.

Getting an education is critical for those who want to break free of poverty. However, children from low-income families often don’t have access to schools or have to spend hours traveling to and from school, due to lack of money. They also may miss out on valuable learning opportunities due to lack of proper school equipment and teachers.

Some Asian countries, such as India, Pakistan and China, have made tremendous progress in reducing poverty over the past decades. But the COVID-19 pandemic is jeopardizing these gains and pushing millions of people back into extreme poverty.

3. Latin America

Poverty can be caused by natural disasters or conflict. It can also be exacerbated by climate change, which is destroying croplands and pushing people away from their traditional sources of livelihood. Dwindling access to water and natural resources, like fish and land, can also push people into poverty as they lose their livelihoods.

In spite of these challenges, Latin America has made remarkable progress in poverty reduction in recent decades. On the basis of a standard $4 per-day poverty line, poverty in Latin America fell by almost half between 2000 and 2014, while extreme poverty declined by two thirds.

However, the region remains highly vulnerable. Countries have limited fiscal capacity to redistribute income and growth has been uneven. To reduce poverty, sustained higher rates of economic growth are essential. Without them, a significant share of the poor will continue to remain in a precarious situation.

4. Europe

According to a new study from Eurochild, almost 20 million children in Europe live in poverty and social exclusion (Eurostat, 2023). When asked about their experiences with poverty, the vast majority of European children said that it made it hard for them to have enough money to buy food.

Living in poverty can also affect a child’s health, making it difficult to concentrate in school or hold down a job. And lack of access to healthcare clinics and qualified staff can further hamper a child’s chances for a good life.

In Europe, children with migrant backgrounds, single parent families, those with disabilities or belonging to ethnic minority groups are especially at risk of poverty and social exclusion. In addition, climate change and natural disasters put more pressure on people in poor countries. This makes tackling poverty an urgent task, even in the richest countries. It’s time to stop leaving children behind.

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