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Poverty in Developing Countries (1985)

REGION

No. of Poor


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(in million)

Percent

No. of Extremely poor (m)

Percent

Sub-Saharan

    Africa

180

47%

120

30%

East Asia

   (China)

280

(210)

205

20%

120

(80)

9%

8%

South Asia

  (India)

520

(420)

51%

55%

300

(250)

29%

33%

East Europe

6

8%

3

4%

Middle East &

   North Africa

60

31%

40

21%

Latin America

70

19%

50

12%

Total:

1,116

33%

633

18%

The consequences of poverty are vast and multifarious. Alongside economic distress, there are many social and psychological effects that prevail among poor families. The UNICEF report of 1995 mentions that 14 million children die every year because of diseases and malnutrition, and that 20 to 30 percent of them die in Sub-Saharan Africa, for, they do not get enough calories for normal activities, and that between 30 to 60 percent of the children in Ethiopia suffer from late growth due to poor nutrition. In Pakistan, one in every four children is born under-weight because of poor nutrition while it is one in every two children in Bangladesh. As a result of malnutrition and poor medical services we observe a big difference in the average life expectancy in Europe [77 years] and poor countries like Yemen and Bangladesh [53 years]. Numerous studies among the poor have documented the high incidence of family instability, emotional illness and various types of deviant behaviour such as crime and delinquency. Indifference, apathy, fatalism and resignation are used to describe the outlook of the poor. Family life typically be fraught with fear, violence and bitterness. The children typically grow up emotionally and physically stunted - a situation conducive to repeating the cycle of their parents’ lives.

Because of the magnitude of poverty in the Third World and its serious consequences on political stability, economic development and international relations the UN organisations – especially the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund - are interested in studying the problem of poverty and suggesting some solutions to combat it. The UN conference on social development held in Copenhagen in March 1995 bears witness to the global concern for poverty.

 

Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.