Rich and Poor Facts

  • The world’s richest country is the USA, with a GDP of $8650 billion ($31,330 per head). But Luxembourg has an even higher GDP per head – $45,320.
  • The world’s richest countries with less than a quarter of the world’s population take three-quarters of its wealth.
  • Most of the world’s rich countries are in the Northern Hemisphere. Most poor countries are in the South: So people talk of the North-South divide.
  • One billion people around the world live in ‘absolute poverty’. This means they have no real homes. In cities, they sleep rough or live in shacks. They rarely have enough to eat or drink.
  • In the 1970s richer countries encouraged poorer countries like Mexico and Brazil to borrow money to build new dams and industrial works.
  • By 1999 poor countries were paying $12 in debt interest for every $1 rich countries were donating in aid.
  • Famine has become a common problem in the poorer parts of the world. One reason is that so much farmland is used for growing crops for export – raising the cost of food, and restricting the land available for growing food for local people.
  • 250,000 children die a week from a poor diet. 250,000 die a month from diarrhea, because of a lack of clean water.