Here are 10 facts about poverty in Africa that demonstrate the widespread consequences of poverty that affect education, health, food consumption and more.
Global news with a spatial perspective: Interesting, current supplemental materials for geography teachers and students.
Curated by Seth Dixon
Here are 10 facts about poverty in Africa that demonstrate the widespread consequences of poverty that affect education, health, food consumption and more.
Poverty happens all over the world, in the United States, in Africa, South America, you name a region and there is poverty in that area. There are many myths about poverty though, and myths about regions where poverty defines the region in many people's eyes. African economies are on the rise, but there is still many struggles ahead.
I can't say I agree with all the arguments put forward in this video, it can still be a nice starting point to get students to critically analyze the ideas put forth and assess the merits of the claims being made.
TELEVISION DOCUMENTARY: Examines the slum areas of Cincinnati, Ohio, and provides extensive views of substandard housing in various parts of the city. Describes the problems of the uneducated and unemployed who cannot escape from poverty, but finds a "ray of hope" in a young school child. Offers no solution for eliminating urban poverty, but states that everyone "must try."
"We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls 'de-facto' — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight. It was not the unintended effect of benign policies, it was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that's the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies."
"A decades-old effort found that moving poor families to better neighborhoods did little to help them. A large new study is about to overturn the findings of Moving to Opportunity. Based on the earnings records of millions of families that moved with children, it finds that poor children who grow up in some cities and towns have sharply better odds of escaping poverty than similar poor children elsewhere."
How vacant houses trace the boundaries of Baltimore's black neighborhoods.
The map on the left shows one very tiny dot for each person living in Baltimore. White people are blue dots, blacks are green, Asians are red and Hispanics yellow.The map on the right shows the locations of Baltimore City's 15,928 vacant buildings. Slide between the two maps and you'll immediately notice that the wedge of white Baltimore, jutting down from the Northwest to the city center, is largely free of vacant buildings. But in the black neighborhoods on either side, empty buildings are endemic.
"Defensive architecture is revealing on a number of levels, because it is not the product of accident or thoughtlessness, but a thought process. It is a sort of unkindness that is considered, designed, approved, funded and made real with the explicit motive to exclude and harass. It reveals how corporate hygiene has overridden human considerations…"
Geography explores more than just what countries control a certain territory and what landforms are there. Geography explores the spatial manifestations of power and how place is crafted to fit a particular vision. Homeless people are essentially always 'out of place.' These articles from the Society Pages, the Atlantic and this one from the Guardian share similar things: that urban planners actively design places that will discourage loitering which is undesirable to local businesses. This gallery shows various defensive architectural tactics to make certain people feel 'out of place.' Just to show that not all urban designs are anti-homeless, this bench is one that is designed to help the homeless (and here is an ingenious plan to curb public urination).
"The research shows that kids who have tough childhoods — because of poverty, abuse, neglect, or witnessing domestic violence, for instance — are actually more likely to be sick when they grow up. They're more likely to get diseases like asthma, diabetes and heart disease. And they tend to have shorter lives than people who haven't experienced those difficult events as kids."
The hotspot maps of crime and poverty are correlated (not a big surprise), but this is another example of using spatial data to drive public policy. After making these initially correlations, they noticed a total lack of services, including medical care in the area that needed it most. This podcast is the story on how geographic analysis gave birth to a "clinic on wheels."
Drexel University is taking a hands-on approach to redeveloping one of Philadelphia's poorest neighborhoods with a new center designed to serve not just students but mainly local residents.
This NPR podcast shows a good example of an urban revitalization project that is actively trying to avoid following the gentrification path. Growing colleges can unintentionally displace longtime residents, but this project is about preserving the cultural fabric of the neighborhood and building good will in the community.
Many urban neighborhoods are places of concentrated poverty, and it's killing opportunity in the US.
American cities are growing, and as they grow, they're adding lots of high-poverty neighborhoods. Nearly three times as many "high-poverty" census tracts existed in 2010 as in 1970. That's unsettling on its face but even more so when you see the havoc a poor neighborhood can wreak on a resident's chances at a good life. Forget gentrification — this is a bigger problem.
The chart above tallies up the people living in these neighborhoods in 1970 and 2010. What it shows is that the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods — those with poverty rates of 30 percent or more — has roughly doubled since 1970. That's because these neighborhoods of concentrated poverty have a tendency to stay that way, even while new ones sprout up.
Which statement is true?
A. 60% of all households without toilets in the world are in India.
B. India’s Muslims are less affected by the sanitation problem than Hindus.
C. India’s lack of toilets is worse than China’s.
D. Lack of toilets in India puts women at especially high risk.
This is the ultimate trick question because unfortunately, ALL of these statements are true. India is a country of tremendous economic growth, but also filled with squalor; there are more cellphones than toilets in India. The lack of adequate sanitation and toilets is serious enough that that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made building toilets a national priority. Comics are using their platform to bring this issue of uneven development to light.
The Democratic Republic of Congo is potentially one of the richest countries on earth, but colonialism, slavery and corruption have turned it into one of the poorest
One thing that baffles many students is how a resource-rich region can be an area of underdevelopment and poverty. Understanding the historical geography is key for students being able to see that natural wealth does not correlate to enriching the local population. Kinshasa, the capital that seemed so promising as the site of the famous "Rumble in the Jungle between Ali and Frazier, is now a city of chaos.
"In this exclusive, unedited interview, 'I Am Malala' author Malala Yousafzai remembers the Taliban's rise to power in her Pakistani hometown and discusses her efforts to campaign for equal access to education for girls. Malala Yousafzai also offers suggestions for people looking to help out overseas and stresses the importance of education."
For younger audiences, hearing someone their own age discuss educational opportunities (or the lack thereof) based on gender can leave a profound impression. Today, Malala is a Nobel Peace Prize winner (deservedly so), as she's become an icon in her own right as she champions developmental opportunities for girls in cultures that historically have not had equal offerings for young women. Watch this documentary to see who she was before she was thrust into the international spotlight, and hear her father's perspective. Some, however, only see this as Western hypocrisy.
"Violence has a geography and for this reason, geography lies at the center of discussions of violence. Within the United States a myriad of taken for granted assumptions about identity, place, power, and memory undergird the nation’s psyche. These normative interpretations intersect with a particular kind of geographic formulation that places persons of color in general, but black men most specifically, at the center of the violent structures of the nation."
This isn't merely commentary about social upheaval or some musing about the social inequities (I think we've all read a ton of those articles). This is a geographic analysis that discusses the interactions, interconnections and implications of a social and spatial conflict between citizens and the institutions of the state. Ferguson, MO is undoubtedly a lightning rod today and some might prefer to avoid discussing it in a classroom setting; I find that as long as we put analysis before ideology, issues such as these show students the relevance and importance of geographic principles to their lives.
The coal economy in Central Appalachia is in an unprecedented freefall. Which isn't making it easier for workers to move on.
West Virginia and 'coal country' are in steep economic decline, but that doesn't mean people are eager to leave. Leaving for many is a last resort, but when residents feel a familial and emotional connection to a place--to the land--that can create a rationale for staying that is stronger than economic push factors. This video set in West Virgina captures the strong sense of place and community that can exist in a place even in in the face of tough times economic prospects. Geographer Ben Marsh wrote about in a 1987 Annals article: "The residents of the anthracite towns of northeastern Pennsylvania show a considerable loyalty to a landscape that provides them with little of material value. This should remind the observer that any broad concept of place must address two different aspects of a landscape: the physical support it provides (means) and the intangible rewards it offers (meaning). "
"To be honest I do not know what they make of my beans," says farmer N'Da Alphonse. "I've heard they're used as flavoring in cooking, but I've never seen it. I do not even know if it's true." Watch how the Dutch respond to a cocoa bean in return or you can watch our entire episode on chocolate here.
What is the geography of chocolate like? This video was produced in the Netherlands, the global center of the cocoa trade, but the world's leading producer of cocoa is Côte d'Ivoire. There is a dark side to chocolate production; the dirty secret is that slavery is commonplace on cocoa plantations in West Africa. Although the worst of the situation is glossed over in this video, it still hints at the vast economic inequalities that are part and parcel of the global chocolate trade and the plantation roots of the production. What are some of your reactions to this video?
"From the time we’re about 6 years old, everyone loves a good poop joke, right? But is there something more meaningful lurking beneath the bathroom banter? Take a look at some international potty humor and then follow the jokes to a deeper understanding. Every laugh on this page reflects a life and death issue: the very real sanitation problems facing India today."
What is the most impactful way to assist underdeveloped societies? Many will argue for food, clothing or education, but these comedians from India feel that access to sanitation will have more tangible impacts in the lives of the poorest Indians. 54% of people in India do not have regular access to toilets and these comedians are using their platform to not only get some laughs, but to advocate for social change.
INDIA’S general election will take place before May. The front-runner to be the next prime minister is Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party, currently chief minister of Gujarat. A former tea-seller, he has previously attacked leaders of the ruling Congress party as elitist, corrupt and out of touch. Now he is emphasising his humble caste origins. In a speech in January he said 'high caste' Congress leaders were scared of taking on a rival from 'a backward caste'. If Mr Modi does win, he would be the first prime minister drawn from the 'other backward classes', or OBC, group. He is not the only politician to see electoral advantage in bringing up the subject: caste still matters enormously to most Indians."
This article from the Economist is dated since Mr. Modi is now the prime minister of India, but this analysis of how caste was used as a political asset in the election is a timely reminder that while the caste system has been officially abolished, the cultural ripples are still being felt today in a myriad of ways that impact social interactions (marriage, jobs, etc.).
Artists, designers, photographers and activists share one image that encapsulates what inequality means to them.
Want to learn more about the issues surrounding poverty in the world today? We ve assembled a collection of some of the best data visualizations for just that.
This set of 12 graphics all show a particular facet on the topic of global poverty. I've shared some of this before, but the compilation is definitely helpful. In the graphic above, the connection between low female literacy rates and poverty is demonstrated quite powerfully.
"More than a billion people around the world subsist on a dollar a day, or less. The reasons differ but the day-to-day hardship of their lives are very similar. A book by Thomas A Nazario, founder of the International Organisation, documents the circumstances of those living in extreme poverty across the globe, accompanied by photographs from Pulitzer prizewinner Renée C Byer. Living On A Dollar a Day is published by Quantuck Lane."
Extreme poverty is defined by the World Bank living on under $1.25 per day. The geography of of extreme poverty highly uneven--two thirds of the extremely poor live in just 5 countries (India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and DR Congo). This photogallery seeks to to show the daily life and realities of those living in extreme poverty. This article from the Guardian argues that development should measured in human rights gains more than economic advancements.
In Bangladesh men desperate for work perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs.
What happens to massive cargo vessels after they are outdated? There are tons of scrap metal, but they aren't
designed to be taken apart. The ship-breakers of South Asia (Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are 3 of the 4 global leaders in recycling ships) risk much to mine this resource. This is an economic function that is a part of a globalized economy, but one than was never intended. There are major health risks to the workers and pollutants to the local community that are endemic in this industry that manages to survive on the scraps of the global economy.
The World Bank has produced a report entitled "Prosperity for All." In this, the extremely poor are defined as making less than $1.25 a day. Two thirds of the extremely poor live in just 5 countries (India, China, Nigeria, Bangladesh and DR Congo). This article from the Guardian argues that development should measured in human rights gains more than economic advancements.
"McDowell County, situated in the coalfields of West Virginia, has experienced a great boom-and-bust since 1950. But despite the economic decline and population loss, many still call it home and feel a great sense of purpose among the mountains. Residents speak about their connection to this place and the meaning of 'home.' Hear more stories at hollowdocumentary.com "
This video perfectly exemplifies some key geographic ideas; sense of place, regional economic decline, migration and resource extraction. This video would be great to shows students and then get them to analyze the geographic context that creates a place like McDowell County, West Virginia. This will be a great addition to my Place-Based Geography Videos StoryMap.