The State of Global Poverty in 2023

27 January 2023

Poverty is a complex and pervasive issue that affects millions of people around the world. According to the World Bank, 9.3% or 696 million people in 2021 lived below the poverty line (on less than $1.90 per day). 


At the Islamic Medical Association of North America (IMANA), we recognize the urgency and seriousness of the problem. Many of our initiatives are directed toward addressing poverty and poverty-related issues. Our list of public welfare activities includes mobilizing donations and volunteers for our medical relief programs, scholarships, and more.

To properly address the issue, we believe that awareness and information go hand-in-hand with urgent action. 

What Are the Causes of Global Poverty?

​​One of the main causes of poverty is the lack of access to education and employment opportunities. Most people living in poverty are unable to afford a decent education, making it difficult for them to find well-paying jobs. Since the conditions of poverty are often passed down from generation to generation, it becomes a vicious cycle that is extremely hard to break.

Another major cause of poverty is systemic ostracism towards certain groups. Women, children, and indigenous people are among the primary groups that are disproportionately affected by poverty. 

Women often have limited access to education and employment opportunities which can lead to poverty. Children living in poverty are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, poor health outcomes, and limited access to education.

Several other factors contribute to poverty such as political conflict and displacement, climate change, and economic crises. We live in a time that is witnessing vast changes in identities and the further fragmentation of society. Addressing poverty in 2022, therefore, requires a comprehensive approach that addresses its root causes while taking into account the specific needs and circumstances of different populations.

International organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the International Monetary Fund have been working to address poverty through various programs and initiatives. These include economic growth programs, social protection programs, and efforts to improve access to education and healthcare.

Understanding Poverty and Its Effects

Most definitions of poverty refer to a consistent lack of basic needs — food, shelter, and healthcare. It can affect individuals, households, communities, and even larger groups who struggle to gain access to the resources they need to live.

In addition to an inability to meet one’s basic needs, poverty is often characterized by:

Poor Education

Children born into poverty are largely from families that lack the awareness and means to enable their education. This can limit their opportunities and make it difficult for them to escape the cycle of poverty. It can become a vicious and lasting generational cycle that can prevent them from enjoying a better quality of life.

Discrimination and Social Exclusion

People living in poverty are often marginalized and excluded from society. This adds to their overall disadvantage as it makes it harder for them to be integrated into society. Over time, this leads to discrimination, social isolation, and a lack of representation in government and other institutions.

Mental Health Issues

Stressors, such as financial insecurity, limited access to healthcare, and social isolation, affect the underprivileged and can contribute to the development of mental health conditions. Since these conditions are also combined with a lack of mental awareness and resources, help is not received at the appropriate time and the problem persists.

Increased Risk of Violence and Abuse

People living in poverty are more likely to experience violence, exploitation, and abuse. They also lack the means to take action against their perpetrators due to a combination of factors such as social bias, ignorance about rights, and so on.

Limited Economic Opportunities

Poverty is inevitably linked with the inability of individuals to participate in the economy. They likewise lack access to vital resources such as education, training, and jobs that enable them to improve their standard of living. 

Poor Quality of Life

Living in poverty is associated with a reduced quality of life, including poor living conditions, inaccessible social services, and limited opportunities for personal development. It creates a sense of alienation and deprivation that can seem impossible to overcome.

Groups That Are Most Affected by Poverty


Women are more likely to live in poverty compared to men. This is due to a greater lack of access to education and employment opportunities.  Discrimination and social norms further limit their ability to participate in the workforce and may prevent them from owning or inheriting property.


Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of poverty. Children living in poverty are more likely to suffer from malnutrition, poor health outcomes, and limited access to education. 

Indigenous Groups

Indigenous people are often among the poorest and most marginalized groups in society. They may face discrimination and lack of access to land, resources, and basic services. 

Senior Citizens

Older people often live on fixed incomes. They may face limited access to social services or healthcare which can lead to poverty. They are often subjected to neglect and exclusion.

People With Disabilities

People with disabilities are disproportionately affected by poverty due to limited access to education and employment opportunities as well as a lack of accessibility in many places. 

Immigrants and Refugees

Immigrants and refugees often face barriers to education and employment opportunities which can lead to poverty. They can also be disallowed to own property in certain places along with other forms of discrimination and social exclusion. 

Rural Communities

People living in rural areas are often isolated from economic opportunities and basic services which can lead to poverty. They can also be disconnected from important opportunities in urban growth centers. 


How You Can Help

Government organizations and nonprofits work together to address poverty. But without individual contributions, a systemic problem like poverty cannot be addressed. 

At IMANA, we fight poverty by providing medical services, education, and support to economically weaker sectors. We organize and participate in international medical missions to provide medical care and education to underprivileged citizens in developing countries. 

IMANA also offers community health education to underserved communities in North America and abroad to help people understand how to maintain their health and improve their general well-being. In addition, we give emergency relief and humanitarian aid to communities affected by natural disasters and other crises. 

We advocate for policies and programs that can improve the health and well-being of these neglected communities and help create a more equitable and just society.

These actions and initiatives aim to support these communities by providing resources in health, education, and other areas. This can help alleviate poverty and improve health outcomes for those living in dire conditions. IMANA provides various ways for you to contribute and do your part in the fight against world poverty.