The State of the World
  Brief Overview of Global Issues


Peace, War & Conflict

Human Rights

Poverty & Development



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Poverty & Development

3 billion of the world's people (one-half) live in 'poverty' (living on less than $2 per day). 1.3 billion people live in 'absolute' or 'extreme poverty' (living on less than $1 per day).

800 million people lack access to basic healthcare. 17 million people, including 11 million children, die every year from easily preventable diseases and malnutrition.

800 million people are hungry or malnourished. Nearly 160 million children are malnourished worldwide. 11 million people die every year from hunger and malnutrition.

2.4 billion people lack access to proper sanitation. 1.1 billion do not have safe drinking water. By 2025, at least 3.5 billion people or nearly 2/3rd's of the world's population will face water scarcity. More than 2.2 million people, mostly children, die each year from water related diseases.

275 million children never attend or complete primary school education. 870 million of the world's adults are illiterate.

3 million people die every year from HIV/AIDS. Approximately 25 million people have died from AIDS in the last 20 years. 70 million will die from AIDS by 2020. 40 million people are currently infected with HIV/AIDS, who will die within 10 years. 13 million children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS since the epidemic began, and the number is expected to double to 26 million by 2010.

Over 100 million people live in slums. An estimated 25 to 50 percent of urban inhabitants in poor, developing countries live in impoverished slums and squatter settlements.

The richest 1% of the world's people earned as much income as the bottom 57% (2.7 billion people). The top 5% of the world's people earn more income than the bottom 80%. The top 10% of the world's people earn as much income as the bottom 90%. The richest 16% of the world's population receives 84% of the world's annual income.

The wealth of the world's 7.1 million millionaires ($27 trillion) equals the total combined annual income of the entire planet.   The combined wealth of the world's richest 300 individuals is equal to the total annual income of 45% of the world's population.  The world's 3 wealthiest families have a combined wealth equal to the annual income of 600 million of the world's people.  The wealthiest one-fifth of the world's population receive an average income that is 75 times greater than the poorest one-fifth.

Poor countries (which contain 4/5th's of the world's people) pay the rich countries an estimated nine times more in debt repayments than they receive in aid. Africa alone spends four times more on repaying its debts than it spends on health care. In 1997 the foreign debts of poor countries were more than $2 trillion and growing. The result is a debt of $400 for every person in the developing world - where average annual income in the very poorest countries is less than a dollar a day.