Why is a big chunk of the world’s population in crisis?
In a world of unprecedented globalisation and economic growth, some people in a handful of countries are struggling to make ends meet.
With the global economic outlook uncertain, many are struggling with low wages, rising energy bills, rising health care costs and rising food prices.
The most vulnerable are people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, that affect their ability to work, and are often the ones with the most severe illnesses.
In many countries, it is the elderly who are hardest hit.
In China, the number of seniors living in poverty has increased by 60 per cent since 2015, and their median annual income is just $1,600, according to the China Social Planning and Development Research Centre.
The World Bank reports that the cost of a standard two-day-a-week apartment in Beijing, the capital, now runs at a whopping $1.1 million.
The global crisis has also created new challenges for poorer countries.
A lack of access to clean water, air and healthcare has contributed to a surge in diseases such as diarrhoea and respiratory infections, among others.
While the global recession has helped to lift millions out of poverty, the situation for those in poverty remains dire.
“There are people who are in extreme poverty and they have no other option but to live in substandard conditions,” said Dr. Paul Lai, a consultant on poverty at the University of Western Australia’s Centre for Economic Development Studies.
“If they can’t live in these conditions, they will die.”
The Global Health Summit, which kicked off last week in Hong Kong, aims to provide a roadmap for the next decade in the fight against the pandemic.
But even with the global economy expanding, the burden of poverty remains high.
According to the World Bank, the median income for adults in the Americas and Europe is just over $18,000 a year.
For people living below the poverty line, the figure is $15,000 per year.
That’s well below the global poverty line of $24,300, and more than half the national median income of $43,300.
A recent report by the Centre for Global Development, titled “Global Poverty in 2050: A Global Perspective,” says that nearly 70 per cent of the global population is at least somewhat poor, meaning they live on less than $1 a day.
As of December 2016, there were just over 10.4 billion people in the world living in extreme or extreme poverty, according the report.
These figures suggest that global poverty is growing faster than the global growth rate.
But that is only because of the high rate of growth that the world has experienced since the late 1980s.
Global economic growth is the primary driver of global poverty, but the economic slowdown in China, South Africa and other countries has had an impact on the overall picture.
Even as growth in the United States has continued, the gap between rich and poor has widened dramatically.
The gap between the top one per cent and the bottom 50 per cent has grown from 1.4 per cent in 2015 to 1.8 per cent now.
In the United Kingdom, for example, the top 1 per cent saw their share of income rise from 30 per cent to 40 per cent over the past 10 years.
Poverty has increased globally, but in the past decade it has become much more acute in some countries.
In 2016, the World Health Organization reported that the global average poverty rate increased from 18 per cent for the poorest third to 27 per cent among the richest third.
That rise in poverty is largely a result of the economic downturn in developed countries, particularly China, which has suffered through its worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
It has been the hardest hit country of all, with an estimated one in four people living on less that $2 a day, according in a report by a team of economists at the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Some of the biggest challenges are food insecurity and rising energy costs, said Dr Lai.
Food insecurity in China has increased dramatically.
In December 2016 there were 7.9 million people living without enough food, up from 1 million at the start of 2016.
The number of people who reported living in a food insecure household was almost four times higher than the number living in households where one or both parents worked.
With rising food costs, a number of Chinese consumers are opting to eat at restaurants that serve more expensive fare.
Meanwhile, the rising costs of living and healthcare have made it difficult for millions of elderly people to afford the medicines they need to maintain their health.
Despite the global financial crisis, there is a strong economic case to support a global approach to poverty reduction.
The Global Partnership on Poverty Reduction and Social Development, a coalition of governments and charities, aims at reducing the burden on all segments of the population through a range of approaches.
One of the key areas that is expected to be prioritised is providing