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Lottery of birth
Lottery of birth

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4 Being born rich, being born poor

While today fewer children are born into poverty, this progress has not been evenly spread around the world or even within the ‘developed’ world. Poverty, even in the West’s richest countries, has a dire impact on the lives of children at, and even before, birth.

Documentary film-maker Brian Hill travelled from the UK to America, Cambodia and Sierra Leone to reveal the shocking lottery of childbirth across the globe in a series called ‘Why poverty’.

The following video shows a clip from Hill’s documentary. It focuses on a family in the USA and one in Cambodia each struggling with poverty in very different parts of the world.

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The USA has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world. In San Francisco, you meet expectant mother Starr, her partner and two children. A year ago, they became homeless, making her children among the 1.4 million homeless children now living in the US (Child Trends, 2019). In Cambodia, where babies are more likely to grow up malnourished than attend high school, you meet Neang, 36, and her 12-year-old son Pisey, who helps support his mother and little sister by scavenging the street for tins and plastic.

In the next section, you will look at income inequality from a global perspective.