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1st World Problems v/s 3rd World Problems: Poverty Edition

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Poverty is a global phenomenon. But how poor are the poor? The definition of poverty differs from nation to nation. It depends on different factors like a person’s ability to afford basic necessities, their standard of living, lifestyle and their ‘social status’ as compared to the rest of the population.

Let’s get this cleared with the help of an example. If the majority of the people in your country drive BMWs and you drive a Hyundai, you might be considered poor. But if everyone drove Marutis, you’d be quite fancy in your Hyundai. That’s how poverty differs in the developed world and the developing world except the difference is whether you can afford clean drinking water to avoid getting sick or if you can afford healthcare for when you get sick.

Here’s how poverty in the 1st world looks different from poverty in the 3rd world.


3rd World: Inability to access a single meal

Poverty Hunger

Countries like Philippines, Indonesia, Nigeria, Mali and Ethiopia have huge numbers of starving mal nutritioned people.

As many poor in these countries depend on farming (highly undependable profession), they earn less than $2/day. This makes it difficult for them to manage a single meal also.

Lower income means more loans to meet the daily necessity. More loans mean more interests which in turn means more debts. When these debts get unbearable, they resort to suicide as the last option.

Surprisingly, the countries with people going to bed hungry are the ones that have enough food. Poverty, displacement and inequality in distribution can be cited as main causes for the phenomena. A huge number of people die due to hunger than to diseases like AIDS in the world 

1st World: Inability to access a healthy meal

While there is a common perspective of enough food being available in the first world countries, the problem lays in the fact that, there’s a huge difference in the diet of the rich v/s the poor.

The socioeconomic strata directly affect the diet of the poor in these countries. Unhealthy food being inexpensive is the common preference for the poor in the first world country. Moreover, the inequality in the income level of the rich and poor and the lack of knowledge of the benefits of healthy food poses as a disadvantage for the poor 


3rd World: High mortality rate

Thousands of people in the third world countries face death due to a decline in health that stems from poverty. The lack of good food, infrastructure, sanitation, increase in pollution, lack of implementation of health policies, overpopulation is some of the basic reasons for the increase in health problems. This causes a number of deadly diseases like Malaria, Pneumonia, Influenza, Typhoid and Hepatitis B affecting the population.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria poses as a serious problem in the third world countries. 68% of all malaria deaths are in children under the age of 5. 

A clean and green environment can be the solution for the increase in mortality rate.

1st World: Lack of good healthcare

While high mortality rate is the major issue plaguing the third world countries, lack of good health services and deteriorating healthcare is the problem in first world countries. Undertrained staff, low income level to afford the health care and lack of knowledge about the various medical policies are some factors grappling the sector.

For instance, as per a study, most of the nurses in Canada are not trained efficiently to do their job. Also, a majority of the poor do not possess medical insurance or lack the knowledge about the same.


3rd World: Lack of basic education

72 million children around the world are deprived of basic education, even today. Due to extreme poverty in the third world countries, most of the families are not able to afford basic education for the children.

The Sub-Saharan area of Africa is adversely affected in terms of lack of education since 32 million children are uneducated. While poverty is the major factor, social parameters like inequality and marginalisation to play an important role. Girls in many of the third world countries are kept away from education due to discrimination against women.

Lack of infrastructure too contributes to the uneducation problem. For instance, in the rural parts of India, there is a severe shortage of schools, learning material, funds, classrooms, toilets etc.

1st World: Lack of good education

It’s not just about being educated, it’s about being well educated as well. While accessing basic education is the problem in developing countries, the poor in the developed countries face a problem with accessing good education.

In spite of the existence of classrooms and schools in these countries, poverty causes the barrier from the entry in good schools. In many of the American communities, the school is set up by the community itself in the area. The poorer the community is the poorer will be the quality of education.


 3rd World: Affording Necessities 

In the third world countries, having a job and being employed is essential to meet the daily needs like food, shelter, water and so on. The focus is on survival than on living a luxurious life. Only once the basic needs are satisfied, can the person think of satisfying higher needs like car, jewellery and other luxury needs.    

1st World: Affording Luxuries

The standard of living in the first world countries is high, because of which there is a constant want in the minds of the poor to be able to afford luxuries. Employment is essential not only to satisfy daily needs but also for satisfying luxurious needs like buying an expensive car or a home.

There is a huge difference in the poverty levels of both the worlds, but that doesn’t mean they are better off in comparison to each other. The government of both the worlds should implement real time policies and try to fill the gap that exists in the income level of the rich and the poor. 

1st World Problems v/s 3rd World Problems: Poverty Edition was last modified: by
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