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10 nations where people survive on less than $1.25 a day

Last updated on: October 14, 2014 14:11 IST
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A young girl with her mother attend a religious mass. Photograph: Dondi Tawatao/Getty Images

About one-third of the world’s 'extremely poor' people live in India, according to recent data from World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The two institutions define 'extremely poor' a person living on $1.25 a day (about Rs 76).

India comes at the top by the sheer population. There are, however, countries where majority of the population scrounge for two square meals a day. In democratic Republic of Congo about 88 per cent of population lives on $1.25 a day.


Image: A man looks out over Abaka Bay off Haiti's south coast. Photograph: Reuters

Rank: 10

Percentage of extremely poor people: 62 per cent

Total population: 1 crore

The country is ranked 145 of 182 countries in the United Nation Human Development Index. Jobs in the country is so scarce that two-thirds of the labour force has no formal employment. "Poverty in Haiti affects its people in many aspects of everyday life, including housing, nutrition, education, healthcare, infant mortality rates, as well as environment," according to Wikipedia.


Image: Children pose in Dareta village, in the northern state of Zamfara. Photograph: Reuters

Rank: 9

Percentage of extremely poor people: 62 per cent

Total population: 16.42 crore

One of the major reasons for poverty in Nigeria is political instability. The country has also witnessed long-term ethnic conflict and civil unrest.

Central African Republic

Image: In Paoua, women communities receive help from the Danish Refugee Council. Photograph: Hdptcar/Wikimedia Commons

Rank: 8

Percentage of extremely poor people: 63 per cent

Total population: 44.40 lakh

CAR has seen continuous coups and rebellions and has been misgoverned since it got independence from France in 1960.

Despite abundance natural resources such as timber, gold, uranium and diamonds, political instability has prevented the country’s development.


Image: Rwandans travel along a dirt path at Mulindi, about 60 kms north of the capital Kigali. Photograph: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

Rank: 7

Percentage of extremely poor people: 63 per cent

Total population: 1.11 crore

Poverty is so bad in the country that 44 per cent of Rwandan children cannot grow to their full potential because of a lack of adequate nutrition.

The densely packed Afican country has an annual population growth rate of around 3 per cent, "the population will have an additional 12 million people by 2015", according to an NGO The Borgen Project.



Image: A girl stands in front of empty granaries at the village of Tangaba, where inhabitants are eating leaves and grass to survive. Photograph: Finbarr O'Reilly/Reuters

Rank: 6

Percentage of extremely poor people: 71 per cent

Total population: 1.55 crore

For the first 30 years of its independence in the 60s, Malawi had an authoritarian government that did little for the nation. But the corruption, poverty and the high rate of HIV-Aids continued to hamper development.

As of now, majority of the population survive on farming and fishing.


Image: Supporters of Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa watch during a rally in Lusaka  Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Rank: 5

Percentage of extremely poor people: 74 per cent

Total population: 1.36 crore

Surprisingly, Zambia does not have the problems that other African countries in this list face - dictatorship, civil wars, and corruption.

The country’s poverty is mainly because the Zambia’s economy relies on copper for its survival. The crash in copper prices in the last few decades has continues to impact the economy.


Image: Students at the College Delta de Gatumba secondary school. Photograph: Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

Rank: 4

Percentage of extremely poor people: 81 per cent

Total population: 95.40 lakh

Burundi has weathered more than a decade of violence and troubles. Conflict has contributed to widespread poverty.

"Between 1993 and 2000, an estimated 300,000 civilians were killed and 1.2 million people fled from their homes to live in refugee camps or in exile," according to Rural Poverty Portal.


Image: Downtown Monrovia. Photograph: Erik (HASH) Hershman/Wuikimedia Commons

Rank: 3

Percentage of extremely poor people: 84 per cent

Total population: 40.8 lakh

This West African country has a formal employment rate of only 15 per cent. The economy has not been able to recover since its civil war. "Current impediments to growth include a small domestic market, lack of adequate infrastructure, high transportation costs, and poor trade links with neighbouring countries," according to Wikipedia.


A Malagasy child eats at the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) school feeding initiative at the Saint de Paul community centre in Tanjombato. Photograph: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

Rank: 2

Percentage of extremely poor people: 88 per cent

Total population: 2.17 crore

Bad governance and poor economic planning has kept Madagascar in shambles. Most of the population of the country practise subsistence agriculture, producing barely enough to feed their families.

With the growth in the island's population, this situation continues to get worse.

Congo, Dem. Rep

Image: People at Congo river. Photograph: Julien Harneis/Wikimedia Commons

Rank: 1

Percentage of extremely poor people: 88 per cent

Total population: 63.93 lakh

"The DRC’s high incidence of poverty is partly attributable to the ethnic conflict that spilled over from neighbouring Rwanda and an ongoing civil war between government troops and rebel groups in Eastern Congo," according to Wikipedia.

According to the International Rescue Committee around 5.4 million people died from the war and that another 1,250 continue to die each day from war-related causes.

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