The Statistics of Worldwide Suffering

The following are statistics of suffering from the new book, “The Poor Will Be Glad” by Peter Greer and Phil Smith:

1. Hunger: Approximately 850 million people go to bed hungry every night and search for creative ways to ignore their discomfort. [page 25]

2. Child Mortality: Worldwide, eleven million children die every year before reaching their fifth birthday. That translates to thirty thousand children who die each day from hunger and preventable disease ― one child every three seconds. [page 25]

3. Drinking Water: Twenty percent of the world has no access to clean water. Millions more walk long distances to carry every drop of water to their homes. (Geography IQ, “Infant Mortality Rate,” (August 19, 2008). [page 25]

4. Diarrhea: In the developing world, diarrhea wracks the thin bodies of tens of millions of children who have no access to diapers or plumbing ― and it kills between 1.6 and 2.5 million children every year. (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, “Novel Compound May Treat Acute Diarrhea,” Science Daily, June 21, 2008, (August 19, 2008). [page 25]

5. Health Care: More than half of all Africans do not have access to modern health facilities. The result is ten million annual deaths from the four most common preventable diseases: diarrhea, acute respiratory illness, malaria, and measles. In many cases, one simple shot could save a life. (Mark Kinver, “Water Policy ‘Fails World’s Poor,’” BBC News on the Web, March 9, 2006, (August 19, 2008). [page 26]

6. Women’s Rights: An Afghan man was told that his sick daughter’s life could be saved if he took her across a dangerous mountain pass to medical care in a city two hours away. “No, I don’t want to do that,” he responded. “Girls are free, but donkeys cost money.” (Kirk Magelby, “MicroFranchises as a Solution to Global Poverty,” December 2005, (August 19, 2008). [page 27]

7. Employment: In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, only 10 percent of the entire population is formally employed. There simply are no formal employment options, no “Help Wanted” signs, and no employers who are legally mandated to provide a minimum wage and other rights. [page 27]

8. Poverty: As of July 2007, there were approximately 6.6 billion people living on earth. Approximately four billion live on less than $4 per day, nearly all of whom live in developing countries. Their incomes are distributed in the following way:

a. One billion live on less than $1 per day.
b. Two billion live on $1 to $2 per day.
c. One billion live on $2 to $4 per day.

For a more complete analysis of the breakdown of poverty and the difference between the countries moving out of poverty and those stuck in a poverty trap, we recommend The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It by Paul Collier (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). [page 29]