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Science and Health:
The Earth Debate
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Poverty and Hunger

It is a common saying in philosophical and development debates that "the poor are always with us." The question for the 2002 Johannesburg Summit comes down to how, or if, sustainable development can render that statement obsolete. Indeed, the total number of people living in poverty declined slightly from about 1.3 billion to 1.2 billion in the 1990s. But there is much to be done to achieve the Millennium Summit goal of reducing the number of people living in extreme poverty by 100 million by 2015.

See how many people are not only seeing the world, but living in it on a dollar a day.


The poorest 10 percent of the world's people have only 1.6 percent of the income of the richest 10 percent, and the richest 1 percent received as much income as the poorest 57 percent....

Poverty and Hunger Stats

Number of people in developing regions chronically undernourished:  800 million
Rate top 20% richest of world population versus the poorest 20%, in 1960:  30 times
Rate top 20% richest of world population versus the poorest 20%, 1997:  74 times
Rate of consumption of child born in developed world compared to undeveloped world:  30 to 50 times
Percentage of world population under 25:  almost 50%
Number of refugees who have fled their countries:  11.7 million
Number of people who have internally displaced persons:  20 - 25 million

Sources: United Nations Sustainable Development, Agenda 21; World Bank Millennium Development Goals; United Nations Population Fund

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