Poverty perspective

Poverty Perspective – Grant Montgomery

To gain a perspective on poverty — as well as relative wealth — I’ll start with the statement that the term “poor” is relative and depends on where you are!

In the western world, an individual who makes less than $10,000 a year is considered very poor. But this same individual compared with the rest of the world has an income in the top 16 percent worldwide!

So an annual household income of $42,200 — the U.S. median back in 2001– is enough to land someone in the world’s richest 1 percent!

For the developing world, the World Bank sets its poverty line at $730 a year ($2 a day). Living on two dollars a day sounds like incredibly little.

–Until you compare this to parts of Africa which gets by on 1/3 of that! Half of sub-Saharan Africa’s 600 million people live on about 65 cents a day — a fraction of what an average American might spend for a soft drink.

If you live in a western country, you might consider your salary “middle-class” or paltry, but compared with most of the world’s population, you’re up there with Bill Gates!  Punch in your numbers into this Global Rich List calculator, which starkly illustrates the worldwide distribution of wealth.