There are many different ways to measure poverty. Wealth, income, access to education, healthcare, and housing are just a few standards by which we can judge a person’s standard of living.
But perhaps the most extreme way to gauge someone’s financial well-being is by measuring how much money they have on a day-to-day basis. For some people, having only $1 to their name may seem unimaginable. But for around one billion people around the world, that’s their reality every single day.
These individuals live in what’s known as ‘extreme poverty’ – meaning they lack even the most basic necessities and must struggle just to survive. Let’s take a look at 10 people who live in extreme poverty around the world – and what they do to get by each day.
As one of the world’s largest economies, you might not expect to find a place like India on a list like this. However, extreme poverty is a real and growing problem in the country – with many people living under the equivalent of just $1.25 per day.
India has a population of over 1.3 billion people, and almost half of those individuals make less than $1.25 per day. These people are often referred to as the ‘working poor’ – meaning that though they have a job, they do not earn enough money to lift themselves out of poverty.
This is largely due to India’s low minimum wage, which was only recently increased from $3 per day to $5. Even with this amount, most Indians still find themselves in extreme poverty. The country also suffers from an extremely high unemployment rate, with as many as 12 million people out of work.
The Philippines is another country that’s home to many people living in extreme poverty. It’s estimated that almost 25% of the country’s population lives below the poverty line.
That means more than 16 million Filipinos are living on less than $1.25 per day. The Philippines has a large agricultural economy, with a significant portion of its citizens employed in the farming sector. Unfortunately, agriculture is a challenging and low-paying industry – with many farmers living in extreme poverty.
The Philippines also suffers from a lack of social services for its citizens. This means many people are unable to access basic necessities such as healthcare and education. This puts them at a disadvantage in finding a job, and increases their chances of living in extreme poverty.
Kenya is home to millions of people living in extreme poverty. While Kenyan citizens enjoy a relatively high standard of living compared to other African countries, extreme poverty is still a significant problem. Almost 13% of Kenya’s population lives in extreme poverty – about 12 million people.
These people often live in rural areas, where job opportunities are hard to come by. Many turn to farming as a way to provide for themselves and their families, but the majority of rural farmers live in extreme poverty.
Many people in Kenya also suffer from lack of access to social services. This means they lack healthcare, education, and opportunities to advance in their careers. This makes it harder to climb out of extreme poverty and secure a better future for themselves and their loved ones.
Niger is one of the poorest countries in the world – and its citizens are also among the most likely to be living in extreme poverty. Niger is a predominantly agricultural nation, but with little infrastructure for exporting its crops and produce, the country relies on foreign aid to survive.
Nearly two-thirds of Niger’s population lives in extreme poverty – over 17 million people. Humanitarian aid has become an important source of income for the country, with the majority of the aid coming from developed countries like France and the U.S.
However, much of the money intended for Niger’s government is often misappropriated or misused, leaving the country’s poorest citizens with little to no assistance.
Haiti is another unfortunate example of extreme poverty. The Caribbean country is still recovering from the devastating earthquake that killed thousands of people and left millions homeless.
Even before the earthquake, Haiti was one of the poorest countries in the western hemisphere. It’s estimated that approximately 40% of Haiti’s population lives in extreme poverty – about 4.5 million people.
Almost half of those people live in rural areas, with an even lower standard of living than urban Haitians. Like many other countries on this list, Haiti has a lack of infrastructure that contributes to its extreme poverty problem. A lack of roads, ports, and other basic necessities like clean drinking water make it harder for people to get by.
Next up is Bangladesh, one of the poorest countries in Asia. Bangladesh is a densely populated country with a large portion of its population living in extreme poverty.
Almost one-third of the country’s population lives in extreme poverty – about 32 million people. These people are often employed in low-paying industries like agriculture and garment manufacturing.
Sometimes, they must rely on odd jobs as street vendors or daily wage workers as their only source of income. Many Bangladeshis also lack access to social services like healthcare and education. This makes it harder for people to improve their circumstances and get out of extreme poverty.
Mexico is a large and highly developed country with a few extreme poverty issues to address. It’s estimated that about 18% of Mexico’s population lives in extreme poverty. While that might sound like a relatively low number, it still amounts to about 15 million people.
These people are often employed in low-paying jobs that don’t offer benefits like healthcare or paid time off. This makes it harder for them to take care of themselves and their families and break out of extreme poverty.
In Mexico, more than 13% of children live in extreme poverty – often without access to proper healthcare or education. This makes it more difficult for them to get ahead in life, and they’re at a higher risk of falling back into extreme poverty as adults.
Living in extreme poverty is a challenge for many people around the world. And while extreme poverty is often associated with developing countries in the Global South, it can actually be found in rich countries too! These are just 10 examples of people who live in extreme poverty – and there are plenty more out there.
In fact, there are billions of people who struggle to meet their basic needs every day. We can help put an end to extreme poverty by making sure the people in need receive the assistance they require. And we can also help by ending the stigma surrounding those who are living in poverty – so that everyone can live with dignity.