Facts About Children and Poverty

According to UNICEF, 30,000 children die each day due to poverty.  And they  “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”  That is about 210,000 children each week, or just under 11 million children under five years of age, each year.

Water problems affect half of humanity.  There are 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea.  There is a loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness. 

Worldwide, 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized, and 1.5 million children are orphaned due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total population of children in either Germany or the United Kingdom).

The three biggest killers of children are the preventable and treatable diseases of malaria, measles and diarrhea.  More than 30 million children in the world are not immunized against these diseases.

Six million children under the age of five die every year as a direct result of hunger.

Of people who get polio, 95% are under the age of five.

HIV/AIDS has created more than 14 million orphans worldwide.

134 million children between the ages of 7 to 18 have never been to school.  Girls are three times more likely to be denied education.

In the last decade, more than 2 million children have died as a direct result of conflict.

Approximately 246 million children work, and 171 million children work in hazardous conditions.

Two million children are believed to be exploited through the commercial sex trade.

Nearly 13 million children in the United States – 18% of all children – live in families with incomes below the federal poverty level.  Low wages and unstable employment leave their families in a precarious position of being unable to cover necessary expenses.

Poverty impedes children’s ability to learn, and contributes to health, social, emotional and behavioral problems.  Research is clear that poverty is the single greatest threat to children’s well-being.

“A dollar spent on a child’s future is a dollar invested, not a dollar consumed.”
            ~ George Miller (D-CA), Chair of House Education and Labor Committee, 5/22/07


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