Facts About Children and Poverty

Facts About Children and Poverty

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The Risks of Child Poverty

Poverty puts many children in jeopardy the second their lives begin. Every year, 7.6 million children die before they even reach age 5, many from causes that can be prevented with proper immunizations, proper nutrition and adequate water and sanitation. 

Poverty also puts children at risk for exploitation through sex trafficking, child labor and early marriage. Children living in impoverished areas face increased danger of experiencing violence from armed conflict or even being recruited as child soldiers. 

The world’s children deserve better. Ending the cycle of poverty begins with investing in children, beginning with maternal health and continuing into early childhood and beyond.

Health Care and Nutrition

  • Measles, malaria and diarrhea are three of the biggest killers of children — yet all are preventable or treatable.
  • More than 30 million children in the world are not immunized against treatable or preventable diseases.
  • 1 in 5 children lack safe drinking water. 
  • 270 million children have no access to healthcare. 
  • Every day, almost 2,000 children die from diseases linked to unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation.
  • More than 100 million children under age 5 are undernourished and underweight, which contributes to 45 percent of all infant deaths.
  • More than 300 million children are chronically hungry, and more than 90 percent of these children suffer from long-term malnourishment and nutrient deficiency. 
  • Stunting affects 165 million children under 5 years old. That's one out of every four children in the world.
  • Every day, 1,000 children are newly-infected with HIV — this is completely preventable.


  • Children from the poorest households are three times more likely to be out of school than children from the richest households.
  • 57 million children around the world are out of school — and the majority of these young people are girls.
  • For every extra year of primary school, a girl’s wages increase on average 10 – 20 percent.
  • Two out of five children in Sub-Saharan Africa will not finish primary school.
  • Educated mothers tend to send their children to school, helping to break the cycle of poverty.


  • In the last decade, more than 2 million children have died as a direct result of armed conflict.
  • Worldwide, hundreds of thousands of children are recruited to serve as child soldiers.
  • It is estimatated that 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
  • 168 million children ages 5-14 are engaged in child labor, with 85 million of them working in hazardous conditions.
  • 39,000 girls become brides every day, facing increased risks for HIV infection, hunger and death through childbirth complications.
  • Exploitation negatively affects children's mental and physical health in the short term as well as into adulthood.

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By striking at both causes and consequences of poverty, CARE gives kids everywhere a chance for a brighter future. Join us in helping children survive – and thrive!