Despite the relative economic stability that many people live with in high income countries, global poverty remains an urgent issue. Many millions of people across the world live in extreme poverty. This means they lack the resources to meet even their most basic needs. Both government, non-government, and private organizations have made progress in recent decades to lower the number of people in the world who live in these extreme conditions, but this progress has been too slow to establish any sort of timeline for the total eradication of extreme global poverty.

Outreach International works at the forefront of the fight against extreme global poverty, utilizing the methodology of community-led development. This methodology involves the people who are affected by poverty, and includes them in every step of the process of solving their own poverty-related issues. It has been proven that this method establishes a base of knowledge and confidence in the people most affected by poverty that they can then use to continually overcome their own economic hardships sustainably into the future.

This blog post will shed light on the urgent issue of global poverty, its causes, effects, and the solutions Outreach brings to people around the world that can end extreme poverty for everyone we work with.

A water well in Africa helps fight global poverty

What Is Poverty and What are the Causes

Poverty is characterized by a lack of resources needed by an individual or a family to live a healthy life. These resources include:

  • Abundant and varied food for proper nutrition
  • Continuous access to clean, safe water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene
  • Proper sanitation services for clean, safe, and pleasant surroundings
  • Adequate access to an education that lays the foundation for future opportunity
  • Adequate access to healthcare to minimize suffering, and avoid missed work or disability leading to lack of income
  • An environment that protected from climate extremes such as drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures
  • Involvement in a stable political system that provides infrastructure, public services, and protection from crime and corruption
  • A culture that protects individuals and groups from marginalization stemming from racism, gender inequality, and negative assumptions about marginalized groups

To learn more, read What Is Poverty.

Global Poverty Rate

The most recent data released by the World Bank shows that nearly 700 million people live in extreme poverty around the world. The exact amount in U.S. dollars varies by regional economy, but in low and middle-income countries, the extreme poverty line is $2.15 per day. The World Bank has determined this amount to be the current minimum funds needed to meet a person’s most basic needs.

These statistics also shed light on the disproportionate poverty rates in various locations around the world. For example, the populations in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa account for 60% of all people living in extreme poverty. This serves to highlight the urgency of the need for targeted interventions, particularly in this region.

Read more about Poverty in Africa.

Statistics and Facts About Global Poverty

According to the World Bank:

  • Almost 700 million people live in extreme poverty, subsisting on less than $2.15 per day.
  • More than half of the people in the world living under the extreme poverty line live in sub-Saharan Africa. This accounts for nearly 390 million people.
  • Children are more than twice as likely to live in extreme poverty than adults. This is the case even though they make up only a third of the people living in extreme poverty.

The World Bank had set a goal to eradicate poverty by 2030. But at the current rate of decline, it’s estimated that as many as 600 million people will still be living under the $2.15 per day extreme poverty threshold at that time. Organizations have made progress in recent decades to reduce global poverty, but there are several obstacles that cause this issue to persist:

  • The Covid-19 pandemic caused a global economic slow-down that pushed an additional 70 million people below the extreme poverty line.
  • Flawed policies and over-generalized solutions help some regions more than others.
  • Increased weather issues due to climate change such as drought, flooding, harsher growing conditions, and shorter growing seasons are all affecting rural and remote areas faster than people can adjust to this new reality.

Supporting agriculture in Cambodia brings nutrition and income to families. Global poverty solutions include work animals for farmers.

Analyzing the Causes and Effects of Poverty

Understanding the root causes and consequences of poverty is essential for developing effective strategies to reduce it around the world. Outreach International specializes in working with people who live in poverty to discover their unique circumstances and implement their own programs tailored to those particular issues.

What Causes Poverty in the World?

Poverty is caused by a complex series of issues that vary by region and exist in any number of combinations. A community can be dealing with an urgent daily need such as inadequate access to safe water. This is a common issue that causes families to spend sometimes hours per day working to meet this basic need. And lack of water can mean low crop yield, leading to inadequate nutrition and low income.

Along with environmental factors, geographic location plays a role in the economic prospects of a community. It’s often the case that an impoverished community is remote and lacks adequate access to infrastructure. This can include plumbing, electricity, school, healthcare, and job opportunities. And all these issues can be made worse if a country is dealing with political instability and uneven distribution of government resources.

The Consequences of Global Poverty – Effects on Future Generations

The consequences of extreme global poverty extend far beyond the day-to-day suffering of individuals and families caused by chronic deprivation. Children born into poverty are particularly vulnerable, facing a complex series of challenges that can catastrophically limit their physical, intellectual, and emotional development. Lack of adequate access to a nutritious and varied diet causes growth and health issues, and drinking unsafe water causes frequent illness. When this issue is combined with a lack of access to adequate healthcare, children can be caught in a long-term cycle of deprivation that compounds upon itself, including missed school and expenses for the family.

When a child lacks access to adequate education, their prospects for future opportunities become severely limited. It’s often the case that poor children become poor adults who are then forced because of their circumstances to raise the next generation of poor children. This phenomenon is known as the cycle of poverty. Outreach International’s work focuses on breaking this cycle and creating solutions that are lasting, sustainable, and permanently break the cycle of poverty for entire communities.

A family in India works to lift itself out of poverty.

How We Can Contribute to End Global Poverty

At Outreach International, we’re committed to empowering communities to lift themselves out of poverty with solutions that last for generations. Our methodology of community-led development involves showing members of impoverished communities that they have the ability to identify their own unique poverty-related issues, prioritize them, and then mobilize to solve them. This is where the solution to poverty lies. When people who live in poverty participate in identifying and solving their own issues, they become empowered to keep making forward progress, and setting and reaching ever-higher goals.

People who live in poverty are uniquely qualified to identify the issues that keep them in poverty. But it can be nearly impossible for people to solve these issues alone. With guidance from Outreach, people learn, step by step, how to solve one urgent issue. Then another. Then another. When progress is made, when hard work pays off, communities build momentum. And every new project brings more knowledge and confidence. Success breeds success, root causes are addressed. This is the most effective way to end global poverty, and build a more equitable and prosperous world for all.


How to Help

Global poverty is an urgent and widespread problem. But you can be a part of the solution. Give to Outreach International. Your donation will help people who are living in extreme poverty lift themselves into a life of prosperity and hope, for themselves and for generations to come.