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Economic Inequity


Despite the oft-touted economic strides made by China in recent decades, nearly all people living in China and other “developing” countries in East Asia would be living below the poverty line in the United States.

The World Bank database used the 2008 poverty line for a family of four in the United States, which was $13.50 daily per capita, and compared it to incomes in developing countries in six world regions.


In the East Asian and Pacific region, which includes China, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, 96.6 percent of the population lives below the U.S. poverty line, according to 2008 figures.

That compared to 15 percent of Americans last year, even as the country struggled through high unemployment and other economic travails.


Toddler sleeping on a bicycle in Kunming,
China while his parents work at a nearby street market

In the South Asia region, which includes India and its super-heated economy as well as Bangladesh and Pakistan, a shocking 99.7 percent of the population lives below the American poverty line.

In Sub-Saharan Africa, 98.6 percent live below the line; in the Middle East and North Africa, 95.3 percent; in Latin America and the Caribbean, 79.7 percent.

Even in the European and Central Asian region, which includes only its “developing” nations — low-income and middle-income countries — 72.1 percent of the population lives below the American line.

In the entire developing world, a total of 1.8 billion people, 94 percent of the population, are below the American threshold.
The World Bank also compiles data on those living below the “extreme poverty” line, which is $1.25 daily per capita.

Nearly half the population in Sub-Saharan Africa, 47.5 percent, lives below that line, as do 36 percent in South Asia and 14.3 percent in East Asia and the Pacific.

The good news is that the figure for all developing nations, 22.4 percent, is down substantially from 52.2 percent as recently as 1981.

But even in China, 13 percent of the population was considered to be living in extreme poverty in 2008.

“The bad news is that, for all the progress, the standards of living for the overwhelming majority of people remain far below first-world poverty levels,” Wendell Cox, a visiting professor at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers in Paris, observes on the New Geography website.

“It can only be hoped that the natural aspiration of the world’s billions for much better lives will be achieved.”

Pictures of America's most vulnerable
people shot by photojournalists against poverty

US Has One Of The Highest Child Poverty Rates In The Developed World
By Pat Garofalo on May 29, 2012 at 2:15 pm

econ6.jpgAccording to a new report from the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. has one of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world. Of the 35 wealthiest countries studied by UNICEF, only Romania has a child poverty rate higher than the 23 percent rate in the U.S.:

[The rate is] based on the definition of relative poverty used by the OECD. Under this definition, a child is deemed to be living in relative poverty if he or she is growing up in a household where disposable income, when adjusted for family size and composition, is less than 50% of the median disposable household income for the country concerned. By this standard, more than 15% of the 200 million children in the 35 countries listed in Figure 1b are seen to be living in relative poverty.



The top five positions in the league table are occupied by Iceland, Finland, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Norway (with Slovenia and Denmark close behind). All of these countries have relative child poverty rates below 7%. Another eight countries including two of the largest — Germany and France– have rates between 7% and 10%. A third group, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, post rates of between 10% and 15%. A further six, including populous Italy and Spain, show rates of between 15% and 20%.


In only two countries are more than 20% of children living in relative poverty — Romania and the United States.


The Great Recession has, of course, exacerbated child poverty. According to a recent report, 8.3 million children in the U.S. have been affected by the foreclosure crisis that arose after the housing bubble burst.

However, the social safety net has helped alleviate some of this suffering. For instance, food stamps reduced the number of children living in extreme poverty by half last year.

New Report: 15 Million Kids live in Poverty in the U.S

Poor children in Kenya
1. 200,000 child slaves are sold every year in Africa. There are an estimated 8,000 girl-slaves in West Africa alone. (Sources: BBC 5 October, 2001 & Antislavery Society)

2. About 120,000 African children are participating in armed conflicts. Some are as young as 7 years old. (Source: Africa Children’s Charter)

3. Children account for half of all civilian casualties in wars in Africa

econ8.jpg Photos of children in Jakarta Indonesia

Paradoxically, despite most of these children eating, sleeping, working and living publicly, they are the most invisible of all citizens. This is because in most cases, they are not classified as a citizen; i.e., not registering a child’s birth is denying the child, its basic right – that is, to become a citizen and to take advantage of basic health care.

econ9.jpgChildren in Poverty- UK

Nearly half of all children in Britain's most deprived urban areas are living below the poverty line, new report reveals. Source: Mail Online --UK Recent report

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