Global Development Data

Underdevelopment impacts the lives of hundreds of millions of people throughout the world. Commonalities across various underdeveloped regions include poverty and extreme hunger, lack of universal education, gender inequality, high rates of infant mortality, and widespread disease. Populations experiencing these tragedies are generally concentrated in a few regions of the planet, namely Central and South America, East, South and South-east Asia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Africa.

Source: World Bank, Represents 2005 data.

Across the globe, more than 1 billion people subsist on less than $1 per day. As such, nearly 800 million people do not eat enough to meet their daily energy needs. Similarly, nearly 1.1 billion people lacked access to clean water at the beginning of the 21st century. Approximately 2.6 billion people, nearly half the total population of developing countries, do not have access to adequate sanitation. These people typically live more than 1 kilometer from the nearest safe water source and they collect water from drains, ditches or streams. In many cases, these water sources are infected with pathogens and bacteria that cause illnesses, such as diarrhea, the second biggest killer of children. These underdeveloped regions also account for a large proportion of the 39 million people across the world living with HIV.

However, emerging economies have experienced encouraging growth in GDP per head over the last five years with an annual average of 5.6%, compared to only 1.9% per annum for developed nations. China and India in particular have experienced dramatic GDP growth of between 7% and 10% each per year for the last three years. And while Africa experienced economic contraction over the last quarter of the 21st century, this decade GDP growth on the continent has paralleled other emerging nations at above 5%, driven principally by higher commodity prices. While the growth experienced by emerging markets has been a positive development resulting in a considerable decrease in the number of people living on less than $1 per day, the sustainability of this growth is largely dependent on the economic policies taken by governments of underdeveloped countries and reinvestment into infrastructure, such as roads, healthcare and schools.