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Poverty & Hunger

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In the early years of the 21st Century

Description: Description: Bangladesh

CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Bangladesh in the early years of the 21st Century.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of poverty are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the relationship between distribution of labor and per-capita GDP, for example.  Perhaps your paper could focus on life expectancy or infant mortality.  Other factors of interest might be unemployment, literacy, access to basic services, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to include some of the possible outgrowths of poverty such as Human Trafficking, Street Children, or even Prostitution.  There is a lot to the subject of Poverty.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.

*** Extreme Weather expected in 2024 ***

According to a recent article in The Guardian, Bangladesh is expected to experience extreme weather conditions due to climate change. The article states that sea level rises, unpredictable flooding, and extreme weather caused by the climate heating up will accelerate the release of dangerous levels of arsenic into the country’s drinking water, putting tens of millions of people at heightened risk of cancer from contaminated well water.

The article also mentions that Bangladesh is expected to be disproportionately affected by flooding as sea levels continue to rise.  Microsoft BING Copilot

*** ARCHIVES ***

The World Factbook - Bangladesh

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency CIA

[accessed 9 November 2020]

World Factbook website has moved to --->

[accessed 5 January 2021]

Garments, the backbone of Bangladesh's industrial sector, accounted for more than 80% of total exports in FY 2016-17. The industrial sector continues to grow, despite the need for improvements in factory safety conditions. Steady export growth in the garment sector, combined with $13 billion in remittances from overseas Bangladeshis, contributed to Bangladesh's rising foreign exchange reserves in FY 2016-17.

GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,200 (2017 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 42.7%

industry: 20.5%

services: 36.9% (2016 est.)

Unemployment rate: 4.4% (2017 est.)

Population below poverty line: 24.3% (2016 est.)

Maternal mortality rate: 173 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate: total: 28.3 deaths/1,000 live births

Life expectancy at birth: total population: 74.2 years

Drinking water source: improved: total: 98.6% of population

Physicians density: 0.54 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access: improved: total: 70.9% of population

Electricity access: electrification - total population: 75.9% (2016)

The Borgen Project - Bangladesh

[accessed 27 December 2020]

The Borgen Project works with U.S. leaders to utilize the United States’ platform behind efforts toward improving living conditions for the world’s poor.  It is an innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.  It believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. From ending segregation to providing women with the right to vote, nearly every wrong ever righted in history was achieved through advocacy. The Borgen Project addresses the big picture, operating at the political level advancing policies and programs that improve living conditions for those living on less than $1 per day.

The Linkage Between Poverty and Leprosy

Nalikena Muyunda Siyoto, Mulungushi University-Zambia

[ Long URL]

[accessed 12 April 2022]

Some studies have shown positive linkages between food shortage and food insecurity with the occurrence of leprosy, and they suggest that impaired host immune response against the causative bacteria as a result of insufficient nutritional intake is the possible cause of this condition (Kerr-Pontes et al, 2006). Insufficient nutrition is related to poverty as only poor persons can lack nutrition. Some of the world’s poorest areas, including Mozambique, Bangladesh and India, are disproportionately burdened by leprosy and other neglected tropical diseases such as lymphatic filariasis. This is because poor living conditions can act as a breeding ground for such diseases or exacerbate symptoms of existing ailments.

Country on a Mission - The Remarkable Story of Bangladesh’s Development Journey

World Bank Group, 16 September 2021

[ Long URL ]

[accessed 23 September 2021]

Bangladesh is a relatively young country, having gained independence a little over 50 years ago. Despite its youth, however, the country has made exceptional strides in reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity over the last five decades.

When the newly independent country of Bangladesh was born on December 16, 1971, it was the second poorest country in the world—making the country's transformation over the next 50 years one of the great development stories. 

Since then, poverty has been cut in half at record speed. Enrollment in primary school is now nearly universal. Hundreds of thousands of women have entered the workforce. Steady progress has been made on maternal and child health. And the country is better buttressed against the destructive forces posed by climate change and natural disasters.

Safety First: Bangladesh Garment Industry Rebounds

Nazila Fathi, IFC Insights, International Finance Corporation IFC, World Bank Group, 31 May 2021

[Long URL]

[accessed 31  May 2021]

This past June the International Labor Organization reported that 1,690 factories were complying with fire and building safety standards, and 655 factories were complying with worker safety standands. Demand for training program also has increased. “We got so many inquiries that we had to add capacity and diversify our business,” said Zahir.

Authorities also worked to enforce the stricter safety codes and labor laws. While mostly larger factories operating in compliance with regulations have thrived, some smaller and mid-sized businesses that were unable to adopt the new standards suffered the consequences: Authorities have shut down 59 manufacturing units so far this year for failing to comply with new regulations.

What Can Biden’s Plan Do for Poverty?  Look to Bangladesh.

Nicholas Kristof, Opinion Columnist, N.Y. Times, 10 March 2021

[Long URL]

[accessed 10 March 2021]

Life expectancy in Bangladesh is 72 years. That’s longer than in quite a few places in the United States, including in 10 counties in Mississippi. Bangladesh may have once epitomized hopelessness, but it now has much to teach the world about how to engineer progress.

What was Bangladesh’s secret? It was education and girls.

As Bangladesh educated and empowered its girls, those educated women became pillars of Bangladesh’s economy.

Understanding food poverty and food vulnerability situation

Prof. Sayema Haque Bidisha, University of Dhaka, The Daily Star, 17 January 2021

[accessed 17 January 2021]

While understanding the poverty scenario of the country, we should however keep in mind that households of a lower income strata spend more on food than on non-food items.

According to the 2016 Household Income and Expenditure Survey of Bangladesh, households at the bottom 5 per cent of the distribution spend 62.5 per cent of their expenses on food while food consumption constitutes only about 33.7 per cent of expenditure for those at the top 5 percent. It is therefore crucial to analyse food poverty separately from overall poverty.

Food poverty can be defined as a situation where a household cannot afford the minimum resources necessary to have a nutritionally sufficient diet on a daily basis.

In the context of Bangladesh, food poverty is conventionally calculated on the basis of the cost of consumption of a certain bundle of food items which meets the bare necessity of daily nutrition of 2,122 calories per person.

Based on such a food poverty line, as much as 35.49 per cent of households are found to be food poor with rural food poverty being 38.25 per cent and the corresponding figure for urban dwellers being 29.17 per cent.

Therefore, more than one-third households are unable to meet even the minimum daily caloric requirement and among these households, 11.07 per cent are found to be chronically food poor.

Action Against Hunger - Bangladesh

[accessed 21 March 2021]

Bangladesh is one of the world’s most populous countries, with high rates of undernutrition: millions of children under the age of five suffer from severe malnutrition. The country’s public health is further undermined by poorly developed water resources, inadequate sanitation and hygiene practices, and recurring natural disasters such as cyclones and seasonal floods, which are made worse by climate change.

Despite the constant increase in indicators of economic growth, about 31.5% of the Bangladeshi population lives below the poverty line. Following violence in Myanmar in August 2017, a large number of Rohingya and other ethnic minorities crossed the border into Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.

The World Bank in Bangladesh

[accessed 16 April 2021]

Bangladesh has an impressive track record for growth and development, aspiring to be a middle-income country by its 50th birthday. The World Bank has supported Bangladesh since 1972, providing more than $30 billion in support.

Looking back a few years …

Advameg, Inc., Encyclopedia of the Nations

[accessed 14 December 2020]

Growth rates have not been high enough to eliminate a substantial incidence of poverty, estimated at over a third of the population in 2000. Underweight children under five years old as a percent of the total dropped only 10%, from 66% to 56% between the period 1990–92 and 1998–99. Nevertheless, signs of modest improvement in the economy have been evident during the past decade, despite periodic weather disasters, to which Bangladesh remains vulnerable, and international market ions. Agriculture still accounts for almost 30% of the GDP, although this proportion has dropped significantly from 50% in 1979/80, as services have grown from 34.4% to 52%. Industry's share has increased only from 15.9% to 18%, according to CIA estimates

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