11 Surprising Facts About Poverty

The following Encounter provides 11 surprising facts regarding global poverty. After the harsh reality of some of these statistics set in, use these bits of knowledge as a call to action.

The following list provides an introduction to a few of the issues within global poverty. It is important to recognize that even though these statistics are valid, they only scratch the surface.


1. In 2014, Americans spent more money on Halloween than the entire world spent on funding for malaria research and aid.

2. Two treatable and preventable diseases, namely diarrhea and pneumonia, cause more child fatalities globally than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

3. The annual cost of food wasted globally is $750 billion

4. Europe disposes of approximately 100 million tons of food each year.

5. Approximately 795 million people around the world are undernourished.

6. One study shows that children living in poverty are more susceptible to deficiencies in cognitive development than children living in middle to higher-income homes. This has NOTHING to do with capability, but is rather a link to parents' increased likelihood to have high levels of depression and anxiety.

7. 1 in 4 children living in the world's wealthiest countries are poor.

8. Through initiatives created by the United Nations from 1990-2010, over 1 billion people overcame extreme poverty. 

9. In 2014, 42,000 people fled their homes in search of protection from conflict every day.

10. 730 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa use open fires to cook their food and warm their homes. Open fires are not only a health hazard but a serious safety hazard for children.

11. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal regarding access to drinking-water was met 5 years earlier than planned. However, it is important to be aware that 783 million people still live without access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion people lack facilities for proper sanitation.

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How Poverty Changes Your Brain

Watch this video and use it as a reflection for the Encounter titled "11 Surprising Facts About Poverty". Reflect on this video individually or in a discussion with a group.

Stress and anxiety are commonly known as affects of poverty, but studies show that the damage goes much further.

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Take Action

5 Ways to Combat Poverty

The following Action provides practical ways to take part in the fight against poverty.

1. Research the practice of micro-financing and lend money to organizations like Kiva - a non-profit that provides loans to those living in poverty to help them get a jump-start on entrepreneurship.

2. Locate and support restaurants like The King's Kitchen in Charlotte, NC and The Cookery in Nashville, TN who employ people who are homeless and provide them with culinary and vocational training.

3. Volunteer at local Food Banks like Second Harvest.

4. Make care-packages for people in poverty and keep them in your car at all times.

5. Respect every person you come in contact with regardless of their class or social status. Kindness is a simple way to make a difference.

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