Global Poverty

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  • Created by: Megan
  • Created on: 05-05-14 10:41


...The international poverty line is based on a level of consumption found in low-income countries. it has been set at $1.08 a day (was formerly $1)...


  • The level of poverty in east/southeast Asia fell rapidly due to rapid economic development
  • Poverty in west Africa has doubled
  • Poverty in Sub-saharan Africa has also fallen and income has grown by 3.5% per year (2000-2004)
  • The poverty gap ratio has decreased in all regions except west Asia where it has increased. The ratio in Sub-saharan Afric remains the highest in the world, indicating that the region's poor are the most disadvantaged in the world
  • Much poverty in the less developed world occurs in the rural areas. There are long term problems made worse by short term disasters (Floods, drought and wars) at different times and years. Adding to the endemic problems arising from low economic development
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Demographic and Social Indicators

Human Development Index:

  • Life expectancy
  • Education attainment (adult literacy and combined enrolment)
  • Real GDP per capita -> the purchasing power parity of the currency of the country

The difference between key economic indicators of GDP per capita and HDI rank is important. A positive figure indicates GDP per cap is above HDI and a negative indicates the reverse.

Physical Quality of Life Index - summaries infant mortality, life expectancy and basic literacy on a scale of 0 - 100 and enables researchers to rank countries by the changes in their quality of life

  • Industrialised countries in the developed world tend to rank highly
  • countries with high incomes, such as the richest middle eastern oil producers, had PQlI values in the low 30s
  • Poorer countries, like Sri Lanka, had PQLI values of 82, and performed well despite low monetary incomes
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Economic Indicators

Gross National Product: the total value of goods and sevices produced by people of a country (including those produced abroad) divided by the population

Gross Domestic Product Per Person: is based on goods and services produced within the country 

Both are given in US dollars to make comparisons between countries easier.

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  • In 50 years poverty has fallen more than ever
  • Almost all countries have seen a decline in poverty
  • Death rates in children have been cut by half in LDCs
  • Malnutrition has declined by a third
  • The proportion of children not in primary school enrolment has fallen to only a quarter


  • Nearly 1 billion people live below the poverty line 
  • 1 billion people are illiterate and 1 in 5 children do not complete school
  • 840 million people are hungry or face food insecurity
  • 1.5billion people lack access to safe drinking water 
  • Women are disproportionally poor
  • Half a million women in LDCs die in childbirth every year.
  • HIV/AIDs pandemic continues - 15million children have lost one or more parents to the disease
  • The number of AIDs orphans doubled by 2010
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Causes of poverty


  • Unequal land distribution - in many poor countries, land ownership is concentrated in the hands of the rich. The poor have no land rights so rely on casual employment for those land owners
  • Weak formal systems of title to private properties limit growth - farmers cannot secure their land rights so have very little incentive to improve it.
  • Increased farming of crops of biofuels and rising oil prices - pushes up price of grain and food riots
  • Unfair trade/protective tariffs for agriculture in LDCs - These increase the prices for consumers in the developed world, decrease competition and efficiency, prevent exports of more competitive agricultural/other sectors, undermining their advantageous industry


  • Drought and water crisis - limit yield and increase erosion
  • Eroded soil/desertification - from poor farming, exhaustion of soil fertility and declined agricultural yields
  • Climate - limiting which crops and animals thrive
  • Lack of access - to fertile land, fresh water and their resources
  • Deforestation
  • Natural Disasters
  • Climate Change - causing unreliable rainfall ->floods/drought
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Causes of poverty

Social or Political

  • War
  • Poor access to affordable health care makes individuals less resilient
  • Disease overwhelming affect developing nations -> diverting resources away from investment and productivity
  • Overpopulation and lack of access to birth control
  • Historical factors like imperalism, colonialism and post-communism
  • Lack of democracy and weak rule of law can discourage investment
  • Inadeqaute nutrition in childhood undermines the ability of individuals to develop their full capabilities
  • Lack of minerals can impair brain development - in the less developed world, 40% of children suffer from anaemia because of lack of iron.
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Millennium Declaration

  • 1) Eradiacte extreme poverty and hunger
  • 2) Achieve universal primary education
  • 3) Promote gender equality and empowerment of women
  • 4) Reduce child mortality
  • 5) Improve maternal health
  • 6) Combat HIV/AIDs malaria and disease
  • 7) Esure environmental stability
  • 8) Develop a global partnership for development

Progress has been uneven. Some will achieve most while others will achieve none. To accelerate progress, the richest nation agreed to provide enough funds to cancel US$40-55 billion in debt owed by the poorest nations. This would allow these countries to rechannel resources into health, education and alleviating poverty. GDP per captia of less than US$380 qualifies a country for immediate debt cancellation as long as conditions on money spending are met.

Although much progress has been made, it is clear that the richest nations have not kept all of their pledges. The UK government has been at the forefront of attempts to make sure that commitments are met, but the financial crisis of 2008 made this evern harder

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They have stressed that donors must fulfill their promises and giver every opportunity to African countries to reach the targets.

Stress the importance of trade and say that sustainable developmment cannot occur without it  - it brnigs prosperity, jobs and the state can bring basic services to their people

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Other Development Initiatives

Multinational Develpoment Work:- International Health Partnerships:- developed countries/NGOs join with poor countries to make health and aid work more efficiently. It aims to coordinate initatives and help recipient countries plan healthcare delviery systems better

Bilateral Aid from the UK to Bangladesh - The UK spent £114million on aid to Bangladesh in 2008/9. The long term goal is for Bangladesh to be a stable, prosperous and moderate Muslim majority democracy, playing a positive role in the global community

Action Aid, a leading UK development charity, try to work through partner agencies in the countries they help. They feel locals know best waht is needed, and that they usually communicate better with people who are being helped to help themselves.

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Other Development Initiatives

Much aid has funded large capital projects like mega dams. In theory, the wealth that is generated by such projects trickles down to the poorer peripheral areas. In reality, many of these projects make the lives of the rural poor worse and they have been severly criticised. 

Bottom up, small scale projects are better at raising living standards in poor areas. This because the development is initiated in consultation with the local people and targeted to local needs


  • Grant self determination to rural areas
  • small scale and tailored to local needs
  • use limited funding effectively
  • priorities basic needs
  • give land to people
  • use external resources if local ones are inadequate
  • mobilise local people to create employment and increase labour intensive activities
  • emphasis work with local environment and culture
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Advantages of Bottom-up development

  • affordable for many villagers
  • involves local people in design
  • easy to maintain
  • promote self sufficiency
  • develop local skills
  • cheap to repair
  •  limited damge to the environment
  • relies on renewable sources of energy
  • low cost but is more efficient than traditional methods
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