Childhood poverty is an issue that affects children of all races and all nations. More than any other disease, natural disaster or safety issue, children die because of one sad truth: their families lack the money and resources to afford them survival. Here’s how the tragedies related to child poverty stack up:
1. Nearly 10 million children die each year worldwide because their families, communities, and nations are too poor to sustain them.
2. The adverse effects of childhood poverty or a low socioeconomic status cause, on average, more pervasive long-term harm to children than any particular type of chronic child abuse. The effects can range from social/emotional problems to physical brain damage. The type of poverty we’re talking about that can bring about such dire consequences is that experienced by millions of lower income kids in the United States in comparison to their more affluent peers. More extreme poverty than that experienced by low-income children in the U.S. can bring about even worse problems.
3. Lower income children are at higher risk for childhood accidents.
4. Around 1.4 billion people in the world are living in extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank as living on less than $1.25 a day.
5. 691,000 kids in the United States went hungry in 2007.
6. As many as 2.6 billion people lack sanitation-meaning they have no access to a latrine, a toilet, a bucket or even a box. This leads to health problems, as one gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, 1,000 parasite cysts and 100 worm eggs.
7. Malaria kills around 850,000 children each year. Most of these deaths could be easily avoided with prophylactic bedding and access to health care.
8. Among the world’s 23 richest countries, the U.S. has the highest infant mortality rates, which in some areas are as high as those in third-world countries.