About 830 million people in the world are working poor—living on less than $2 a day—and more than 1.5 billion are in vulnerable employment, usually lacking decent working conditions and adequate voice and social security. - 2015 Human Development Report
Earlier this morning, the United Nations Human Development Programme released its global 2015 Human Development Report which among other things, measures well being in health education and income, the core areas of United Way’s community impact work.
The report reveals some very encouraging news, especially when we take a look at the historical data. Between 1990 and 2015:
- The number of extreme poor people fell globally from 1.9 billion to 836 million
- Child mortality deaths for children under the age of 5 decreased from 12.7 million to 6 million and;
- Literacy and educational attainment rates continue to rise across most of the developing world
This year’s report is significant as it discusses the role of work and access to work in strengthening human development. Access to successful job opportunities leads to healthy and sustainable families, human dignity and improved outcomes for generations of children.
However, access to quality and healthy work is being compromised when approximately 80 percent of the global population has only 6 percent of the world’s wealth, women globally earn 24% less than men and over 21 million people worldwide in 2012 were in forced labor, often through drug trafficking and sexual exploitation.
United Ways of California is augmenting the great work of the United Nations by bringing awareness to the daily challenges low-income households have to face every day, especially in the area of access to quality work. In Struggling to Get By: The Real Cost Measure in California 2015, we find there are 3.2 million households throughout the state that lack sufficient income to meet basic needs. What is particularly compelling is that 87% of these heads of households work, and two-thirds of them work at least 48 weeks per year. This speaks to the fact that many low-income households work multiple low-paying jobs at low wages coming nowhere close to fully care for their families.
If you have a few moments, we encourage you to read through the 2015 Human Development Report and consider the opportunities we can all assume to help improve the well being of low-income children and families.