Report Highlights Income Disparity Between Richest and Poorest

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Posted on 2/12/2014
Two girls in Oklahoma who are part of ChildFund’s Just Read! program enjoy looking at a book.
Two girls in Oklahoma who are part of ChildFund’s Just Read! program enjoy looking at a book.

Recently, members of the World Economic Forum convened in Davos, Switzerland, for their annual financial summit. During this event, experts and leaders spoke on a variety of topics, including the current state of the global economy, how to promote growth and how to stimulate economic recovery in developing nations and those hit hardest by the financial crisis of 2008. Although many attendees were keen to express their optimism regarding economic growth in 2014, the fact remains that income inequality is a serious problem around the world, particularly in the world's poorest countries.

Shocking Disparities

Shortly before the World Economic Forum began, Oxfam set out to reveal the extent to which income inequality remains a problem around the world. According to data from Oxfam, the world's richest 85 individuals share as much economic wealth as 50 percent of the world's poorest, highlighting the true scale of income inequality around the globe. These 85 people possess a combined net worth of more than $1 trillion, equal to the holdings of approximately 3.5 billion of the world's poorest people.

In developed nations including the United States, Australia and Sweden, the margin by which the richest individuals control a disproportionate share of the wealth has grown significantly in recent years. Despite the fact that one of five American children is living in poverty, the richest individuals in the country have seen their personal wealth increase substantially during the past six years.

"It is staggering that in the 21st century, half of the world's population – that's three and a half billion people — own no more than a tiny elite whose numbers could all fit comfortably on a double-decker bus," says Winnie Byanyima, a director at Oxfam who attended the Davos conference.

Enduring Hardships

Although many people associate poverty with developing nations, the fact remains that millions of American children are living in poverty.

ChildFund works in some of the poorest communities in the U.S., in North and South Dakota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Many children in need come from families that struggle to maintain a stable home situation or uphold cultural traditions that are important for strengthening children's identities and their self-confidence. Sponsoring a child in the United States for just $35 a month is one way you can help ChildFund provide children living in poverty with the encouragement and help they need to live healthy, fulfilling and independent lives.