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The 5 Main Problems in the World

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My writing covers a wide array of subjects including but not limited to: religion, language learning, health, philosophy, and legal issues.

The top five global issues facing the world are wealth inequality, famine, homelessness, disease, and war.

The top five global issues facing the world are wealth inequality, famine, homelessness, disease, and war.

What Is Going Wrong in the World Today?

There are many problems in the world, and here are what I personally deem to be the five worst ones.

Top 5 Global Issues

  1. Wealth Inequality
  2. Famine
  3. Homelessness
  4. Disease
  5. War

The purpose of this article is to inform the public about these problems using statistics and facts to explain how complicated they are.

1. Wealth Inequality

Arguably the largest problem in the world at the moment is wealth inequality across the world.

In 2015:

This does not just account for people, however; it applies to whole countries as well.

In 2019:

Note: GDP per capita is the total amount of money a country has from its gross product (what it makes in a year) divided by the population.

The difference in income varies immensely between countries, and thus depending on which part of the world you are born in, you will either earn a lot more or a lot less for the same skills and work put in than people born in other places.

Graph: global income and poverty lines

Graph: global income and poverty lines

2. Famine

Famine is the term used to describe an extreme shortage of food. In a world of such huge wealth imbalances, as mentioned earlier, it would only be expected that there would also be a huge food imbalance too.

The extent of famine is much larger than most people expect:

At the same time, the following is also true:

Famine can be seen as one of the most unfair aspects of human life. It is not by choice that people starve, though it is by choice that people overeat. Were wealth and food spread out in only slightly different ways, worldwide famine could be eradicated. Whether the cause of this tragic circumstance is international politics, the concept of state sovereignty, or extreme capitalism, it is hard to argue that the consequential pervasive famine is not one of the main world problems burdening us today.

To add salt to the wounds of starving people, developed countries waste a considerable amount of food.

Here are the facts:

  • In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that 30%–40% of all foods are never eaten.
  • In the last 10 years, the amount of food British people threw away went up by 15%. Overall, £20 billion ($38 billion) worth of food is thrown away each year.
  • In the USA, 40%–50% of all food ready for harvest never gets sold.
  • Of the food that does eventually reach households, 14% is wasted, resulting in an estimated $43 billion of food waste.
  • If food reaching supermarkets, restaurants, and cafeterias but getting wasted is added to the household figure, that waste goes up to 27%.
  • In some parts of Africa, a quarter or more of the crops go bad before they can be eaten. High losses in developing nations can be due to a lack of technology, infrastructure, insect infestations, microbial growth, damage, high temperatures, and humidity.
  • To make things even worse, the direct medical cost of hunger and malnutrition is around $30 billion each year.

Some argue that pouring money into starving countries could even be an investment, as those countries will become more prosperous and be able to produce more goods and then participate more actively in global trade. It is on this basis that EU countries with stronger economies like Germany have bailed out weaker economies such as that of Greece—in the end, a strong Greece means a stronger Germany.

3. Homelessness and Squalid Living

It is estimated that about 150 million people are homeless in the world.

One might say that this is actually a small amount compared to the 7 billion people that exist, but consider the fact that this is just homelessness. This takes no account of how they are living—the millions of people living in slums, for example, are not homeless, but nevertheless are forced to suffer in much the same way.

Once the reasonable standard of having electricity, running water, central heating, and internet connection is factored in, the number of people who live in squalid conditions that are not conducive to bettering themselves or their society is likely to be in the billions. As such, this is one of the top five main problems the world needs to prioritize addressing.

It's a tragedy that 1.5 million children die from preventable diseases every year.

It's a tragedy that 1.5 million children die from preventable diseases every year.

4. Disease

As you can see from the table below, the top 10 most deadly diseases cause 13.5 million deaths per year. It should be noted that diseases such as malaria have been eradicated from wealthy countries such as the USA. These diseases, however, still manage to plague many nations that don't have the resources (vaccinations, insecticides, medicines, and nets) to follow suit.

1.5 million children die from preventable diseases every year.

Top 10 Deadly Diseases


DiseaseAnnual Mortality RateAnnual Infection Rate

Lower Respiratory Infections

4 million


3 million

39.4 million


1 million

300–515 million


2.2 million

4 billion


2 million

8 million



30 million

Whooping Cough


20–40 million






Over 1 million



12.2 million

5. Wars and Anthropogenic (Human-Caused) Disasters

Wars and deadly regimes are often a result of human vices such as greed, ignorance, and paranoia.

Among the most notable wars are:

  • The An Lushan Rebellion: around 36 million deaths (15.3% of the then world population!) [763 CE]
  • World War 2 (WWII): around 60 million deaths (roughly 2.5% of the world population) [1945]
  • World War 1 (WWI): around 15 million deaths [1918]
  • Russian Civil War: around 9 million deaths [1922]
  • Chinese Civil War: around 2.5 million deaths [1949]
The wealth inequality in the world means some people are making a lot of money at the expense of others.

The wealth inequality in the world means some people are making a lot of money at the expense of others.

"Honourable" Mentions

All discrimination, such as racism, sexism, ageism, and intolerance of different sexualities and disabilities, should also be mentioned when referring to global issues. However, these things are hard to quantify and prove, although many readers are aware that they exist. Reliable data sources about their prevalence in the past are hard to come by.

Human vices such as laziness, selfishness, ignorance, and hatred are also worth mentioning, but again are difficult to quantify and predict. But their consequences—such as unemployment, crime, and wealth inequality—are easier to deal with. Wealth inequality is the most significant one, in my opinion, as most of the other problems are a result of it.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.