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Present Condition of Poverty

Written By: Poluk Sharma

Date: June 2021

In 2015, the United Nations set 17 Sustainable Development Goals. The first of these goals was to end extreme poverty and create frameworks to reduce poverty in all its forms, for everyone, everywhere. Poverty impacts many other global issues that are addressed with the goals, too, such as hunger, poor health, poor education, inequality, and poor sanitation. Although the world has made notable progress towards the “No Poverty” goal in recent years, there is still much to be done to reach it.

The Cycle of Poverty

The cyclical nature of poverty makes it a difficult issue to tackle. In addition to the well-known issues of malnutrition, poor sanitation, and higher risk of disease, kids who grow up in poverty can grow up without access to quality education, and according to the American Psychological Association, “poor children were twice as likely to have repeated a grade, to have been expelled or suspended from school, or to have dropped out of high school,” proving that financial condition can impact the ability to achieve academic success. In an age of technological advancement and critical problem solving, education becomes more important than ever for landing high-paying jobs. This means that children who grow up in poverty will have a harder time providing for their own children in the future, continuing the cycle of poverty. This cycle needs to be broken for the world to achieve the United Nation’s global goal.

Poverty Today

In 1990, about 36% of the population lived in extreme poverty (currently defined as living on less than $1.90 per day). By 2015, that number was about 10%. 2018 brought that number down to about 8.2%. But COVID-19 turned this encouraging downward trend around. Due to economic hardships during the pandemic, the global poverty rate is going up. According to the United Nations, ”this would be the first time that poverty has increased globally in thirty years, since 1990." Hundreds of millions of people live in extreme poverty around the globe, and hundreds of millions more have been forced into the cycle of poverty due to COVID. The world will need to come together and work harder than ever to reverse the negative change.


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“Goal 1: End Poverty in All Its Forms Everywhere – United Nations Sustainable Development.” United Nations, United Nations, www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/poverty/.

Kharas, Homi. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Global Extreme Poverty.” Brookings, Brookings, 29 Oct. 2020, www.brookings.edu/blog/future-development/2020/10/21/the-impact-of-covid-19-on-global-extreme-poverty/.

“Neurocognitive Impacts for Children of Poverty and Neglect.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/pi/families/resources/newsletter/2012/07/neurocognitive-impacts.

Peer, Andrea. “Global Poverty: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help.” World Vision, 24 May 2021, www.worldvision.org/sponsorship-news-stories/global-poverty-facts#:~:text=Living in poverty means a,lack access to quality education.&text=Living in poverty also means,no food on the table.

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