National Geographic World Cultures and Geography, Student Version - 514

sec tion

3

G oV e R n M e n t & e co n oM i c s

3.3 Fighting Poverty in Bangladesh
Main Idea Bangladesh is one of the poorest
countries in the world, but it is making progress
toward improving its economy.

The biggest problem in Bangladesh is
poverty. In 2009, the gross domestic
product (GDP) per capita was only $1,500.
In contrast, U.S. GDP per capita that year
was $46,000. More than eight out of ten
Bangladeshis live on less than two dollars
per day.

Poverty in Bangladesh
Economists identify three problems that
help explain why Bangladesh is poor. One
problem is overpopulation , or too many
people living in one place. In 2010, over
156 million people in Bangladesh were
living on only about 55,600 square miles
of land. That is roughly equivalent to half
of the U.S. population living in an area the
size of the state of Illinois.

m y N G c o n n e c t . c o m For an online
resources and industries map
Maps and
Maps and Graphs
Graphs

Toward a Brighter Future
When Bangladesh became an independent
nation in 1971, it had a military
government like Pakistan's. Since 1991,
though, it has had a democratically
elected government. The government has
improved the economy by encouraging
exports and building new industries.
It is not easy to find products to export.
Bangladeshi farmers grow rice, wheat,
tea, and sugarcane, but those crops must
feed the country's large population, and
there is usually nothing left over to export.
However, the country does export huge
amounts of jute. Jute is a strong fiber used
in making ropes, carpets, types of paper,
and other products.

The second problem facing Bangladesh
is natural disasters. Rivers like the Ganges
surge over their banks during summer
monsoons. Many cyclones -the name
for hurricanes in South Asia-also hit
Bangladesh. Floods and cyclones destroy
crops, adding to the problems of an
uneven food supply and poverty.
Lack of education is a third problem.
Only 48 percent of Bangladeshis can
read and write. In contrast, 99 percent
of Americans can read and write. In
addition, about 8 million Bangladeshi
children work in factories and at other
jobs. Because they work for wages, they
are not able to go to school.

514 CHAPTER 18

Critical Viewing Garments are
a major export in Bangladesh.
What conditions shown in this
photo of a factory help explain
why the garment industry has
been successful?


http://www.myNGconnect.com

National Geographic World Cultures and Geography, Student Version

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of National Geographic World Cultures and Geography, Student Version

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