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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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U.N.: Global inequality rising

Despite considerable economic growth in many regions, the gap between the rich and poor is wider now than a decade ago, according to a 2005 report by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.

For example, while China and India have had considerable income growth, there’s a huge income gap between rich and poor people in the two countries.

The U.N. also says:

• 1.3 billion people—a quarter of the world’s population—live in severe poverty.

• 80 percent of the world’s domestic product belongs to 1 billion people living in the developed world, while 5 billion people living in developing countries share the remaining 20 percent.

• $133 billion, the net wealth of the 10 richest billionaires, is more than 1.5 times the combined national income of the world’s least developed countries.

• More than 100 million people live below the poverty line in industrial countries. More than 5 million people are homeless and 37 million are jobless.

• Nearly 800 million people in the world don’t get enough food, about 500 million people are chronically malnourished and more than a third of children are malnourished.

• 160 million preschool children living in developing countries are underweight.

The U.N. report calls for such immediate action as expanding opportunities for productive employment, bringing marginalized groups into society and working to distribute the benefits of an “increasingly open world economy.”


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