We live in an era where science and technology is at its peak. Our homes are filled with gadgets and even our children are addicted to electronics. Mankind has come so far to make life better for us and to make our dreams become a reality. But, if you take a look at the statistics, we still have a long way to go. While there are countries where obesity is one of the leading causes of death, there are others where people are starving. According to the Global Burden of Disease study, there were 1.5 billion dangerously overweight people worldwide last year, while 925 million were underfed. Today, we will take a look at some depressing statistics about the world we live in. After reading them, decide for yourself whether you can make a change.
1. There are approximately 153 million orphans in the world.
UNICEF estimates that there are approximately 153 million orphans worldwide. This number should make us worried because if the orphans were a country, they would rank 9th in the world in population; ahead of Russia. China ranks #1 with 1,415,045,928 and India ranks #2 with 1,354,051,854 people. The United Nations projects that at this rate, the world’s population will grow to 9.7 billion by 2050 and by 2100, this number would become 11.2 billion.
2. The United States spends approximately $200 billion a year on the correctional system. This exceeds the gross domestic product of twenty-five US states and 140 foreign countries.
A study by the Prison Policy Initiative discovered that when it comes to mass incarceration, the State, Federal Governments and American families are paying $100 billion more each year than previously expected. A government report also shows that U.S. state and local spending on prisons and jails grew at three times the rate of spending on schools over the last 33 years.
The Bureau of Justice Statistics estimates the annual cost of mass incarceration in the United States to be $81 billion. That figure only addresses the cost of operating prisons, jails, parole, and probation — leaving out policing and court costs, and costs paid by families to support incarcerated loved ones. This also means that each U.S. resident is paying about $260 per year on corrections, up from $77 per person in 1980.
3. In both developed and third world countries, a staggering 30-50% of all food produced rots away uneaten.
Between 30% and 50% or 1.2-2 bn tons of food produced never reaches a plate. A report published by UK’s Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) shows that this is mainly due to unnecessarily strict sell-by dates, buy-one-get-one free promotions and an unnecessary demand for the ‘perfect’ food. Poor agricultural practices also contribute to this major issue.
The United Nations estimates that an extra 3 billion people are affected by this practice. The global report also shows that as much as 30% of vegetable crops are never harvested in the UK due to their failure to meet retailers standards. Meanwhile, half of the food bought in the US and Europe are thrown away by consumers.
4. Around 80% of the world’s population survives on less than $10 per day.
According to Pew Research Center report, around 80% of the world’s population remains low-income or poor, living off of a mere $10 or less a day. The study was conducted on 111 countries over a ten year period. While the report shows that global poverty has fallen by half over the past decade, the number is still significant. By 2011, most of poor and low-income people lived in Africa and Asia-South Pacific. Only 4% of those managing on $10 or less daily lived in North America and Europe.
In most African and Asian nations, impoverishment rate is higher than the rest of the world. The report also shows that in 18 of the 28 countries in Asia-South Pacific, nearly eight-in-ten people or more were either poor or low income. This group includes India, where 97% of the population is poor or low income, and China, where the share is 78%. Meanwhile, in 24 out of 30 African countries, at least nine-in-ten people are poor or low income. In Nigeria, 98% of the population was poor or low income in 2011, and in Kenya, it was true for 93% of the population.
5. Wealthy people are giving less of their incomes to charity, while poor are donating more.
We hear stories about billionaires making charitable donations every now and then, but when the poor make more donations, it is unheard or untold. When Bill Gates or Warren Buffett pledge to donate $40 or $50 million, we naturally believe that the rich are generally better at it than the rest of us.
Paul Piff, a psychologist at U.C. Berkeley, says otherwise. Piff carried out a study and published his findings in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, which shows that the poor are more charitable than the rich. Another study also shows that when it comes to charity, wealthy men and women who earned at least $200,000 gave nearly 5% less to charity. The poorest Americans, those who took home $25,000 or less, increased their giving by nearly 17% in the last decade. Stacy Palmer, editor of the Chronicle of Philanthropy says,
“Lower and middle-income people know people who lost their jobs or are homeless, and they worry that they themselves are a day away from losing their jobs. They’re very sensitive to the needs of other people and recognize that these years have been hard.”
6. 1.3 billion people are still living in the dark.
Believe it or not, Nomophobia is a mental illness caused by technology, or lack of it. The sufferers have extreme phobia or fear of being without a mobile phone or without a signal on one’s phone. While people with such conditions actually exist on our planet, there are more than 1 million people that lack access to electricity at the same time.
More than 600 million are in sub-Saharan Africa, and more than 300 million are in India. The government in India has promised to place an emphasis on renewable sources of energy but there are no programs in Africa to use renewable sources of energy. Many other countries of the developing world undergo the same problem but in Asia, India has the largest population that does not have access to electricity. It is estimated that nearly 2 out of 10 people do not have access to it. North Korea, Burma and Cambodia have it even worse. About 70% of their total population does not have electricity.
7. In Africa, less than one in three people have a proper drain
system, but 93% have access to cell phone service.
The UN estimates the current population of Africa to be 1,295,528,965 and counting. This number is equivalent to 16.64% of the total world population. Most of the population live in urban areas and less than one in three people have access to piped water, electricity or toilets. This, however, does not mean that there is a shortage of mobile phones or services. According to Afrobarometer, 93% of the population has access to cell phone service, 63% have access to piped water and 50% that live in urban areas have paved roads.
The pan-African, non-partisan research network conducted the study in 35 African countries and interviewed more than 50,000 people. The results concluded that while a majority of the population had cell phones, they lacked water, sewage, electricity, roads and were suffering from starvation.
8. Cargo ships and cruise liners dump more than 14 billion pounds of garbage into the ocean every year.
Every year, more than 20 million people board cruise ships. They come back to land rejuvenated and with fond memories of the sea. Little do they know the harm cruise ships cause to mother nature. It is estimated that about a billion gallons (3.8 billion liters) of sewage is dumped into the oceans every year. Friends of the Earth, a non-governmental environmental group, used US Environmental Protection Agency data to calculate this figure.
The results show that a single 3,000-person cruise ship pumps 150,000 gallons of sewage (about 10 backyard swimming pools worth) into the ocean per week. This fills our oceans with bacteria, heavy metals, pathogens, viruses, pharmaceuticals and harmful materials for both human and aquatic life.
9. In the US, 34% of the total homeless population is under 24.
According to DoSomething, 34% of the total homeless population is under 24 years of age. 17% were told to leave by their parents or left home because they knew their parents didn’t care. The Department of Justice estimates that every year, over 1.7 million teens experience homelessness in the US and nearly 1 in 5 youths under the age of 18 will run away at least once.
10. Oxfam estimates that the annual income of the 100 richest people is enough to end global poverty seven times over.
Currently, there are 2,208 billionaires, and according to Oxfam, since last year, a billionaire is made every two days. The non-profit organization released a report which shows that in 2017 alone, wealth surged by $762 billion for the rich. This amount is enough to end extreme poverty seven times over.
Separate data, compiled by Bloomberg, shows that the top 500 billionaires’ net worth grew 24% to $5.38 trillion in 2017; while Jeff Bezos saw a gain of $33.7 billion. The organization presented their findings in Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. There, they called on governments to limit shareholder and executive returns, while ensuring that workers receive a living wage. They also asked to eliminate gender pay gap and to raise taxes on the wealthy; among other suggestions.