Poverty Facts



  • Worldwide 600 million children are living in extreme poverty.
  • The cost of eradicating world poverty is estimated at 1 percent of global income.
  • Almost half the world — over 3 billion people — live on less than $2.50 a day.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.
  • 1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.
  • 6.9 million children under five years of age died in 2011, nearly 800 every hour.
  • The highest rates of child mortality are still in sub-Saharan Africa – where 1 in 9 children dies before age 5.
  • The number of under-five deaths worldwide has declined from more than 12 million in 1990 to 6.9 million in 2011. Nearly 19,000 children under five died every day in 2011.
  • Globally, the four major killers of children under age 5 are pneumonia (18 percent), diarrheal diseases (15 percent), preterm birth complications (12 percent) and birth asphyxia (9 percent).
  • 58 percent of deaths in children under age five are caused by infectious diseases.
  • In 1981, 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty (defined as living on $1.25 or less a day.) Data from the World Bank released in February 2012 estimates that 22 percent of people live in extreme poverty.
  • Country with highest number of under five deaths: India.
  • Every day, approximately 800 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 99 percent of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
  • The poorest 40 percent of the world’s population accounts for 5 percent of global income. The richest 20 percent accounts for three-quarters of world income.



The United States

  • More than 50 million Americans live below the poverty line.
  • More than 47 million american's receive food stamps.
  • The federal government defines the poverty line as a family of four earning $23,550.
  • The federal poverty level is actually a matrix of different dollar amounts. It depends on the size of the family, with larger families having a higher threshold. For one person in 2014, the poverty level is $11,670, and 50 percent of that works out to $5,835. For a family of four, the poverty level is $23,550, and 50 percent of that is $11,925.
  • In 2012, there were 46.5 million people in poverty. This is up from 37.3 million in 2007. The number of poor people is near the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty statistics have been published (DeNavas-Walt 2013, p. 13 Also see table there); DeNavas-Walt 2011, p. 14).
  • The 2012 poverty rate for Hispanics was 25.6 percent, for African Americans 27.2 percent, for Asians 11.7 percent and for non-Hispanic whites 9.7 percent (DeNavas-Walt 2013, p. 21-3).
  • In 2012, the poverty rate for children under age 18 was 21.8. Children represented 23.7 percent of the total population and 34.6 percent of the people in poverty (DeNavas-Walt 2013, p. 15).
  • 20.4 million Americans live in extreme poverty. This means their family’s cash income is less than half of the poverty line, or about $10,000 a year for a family of four ((DeNavas-Walt 2013, p. 18; DeNavas-Walt 2011, p. 19).
  • 48 million people or 15.4 percent of the American people, do not have medical insurance (DeNavas-Walt 2013, p. 23).
  • More than one quater of americans now live in poverty.
  • Families comprise nearly 40% of all who are homeless.
  • 68% of the cities reporting in the 2010 Mayor's Report, had to turn away homeless families with children because of a lack of available shelter beds.
  • According to the 2010 US Conference of Mayors report, Family homelessness increased by 9%.
  • Among families who are homeless with children, the majority cited loss of a job as the cause, followed by the lack of affordable housing, poverty, low-paying jobs and domestic violence.
  • 42% of homeless children are under the age of 6.
  • A child is born into poverty every 33 seconds.
  • Families with children comprise one of the fastest-growing segments of the homeless population today.
  • More than 15% of Americans live in poverty, including one in five children (22%), the highest rate in the industrialized world.
  • Almost 60% of Americans will spend at least one year below the poverty line at some point between ages 25 and 75.
  • There is no city or county anywhere in the United States where a worker making the minimum wage can afford a fair market rate one-bedroom apartment.
  • The cost of rent and utilities for a typical two-bedroom apartment increased 41% from 2000 to 2009.
  • 2 million additional American children will fall victim to the foreclosure crisis over the next two years.