CARE Enterprises


There is no question that the challenges we face are {choose a daily emotion} <enormous> <daunting> <overwhelming> <sad> <troubling> <painful> <scary> <depressing> 

The numbers speak for themselves - with more than half of the world living in a state of perpetual financial insecurity, instability, and desperation, it is not just people that do not reach their full potential, but the market itself.


There are about 7.4 billion people on the planet. Four billion of those people live in poverty — those with incomes below $3,000 annually in local purchasing power. 

According to Credit Suisse, half of all adults in the world own less than $2,222, and the bottom 20% of adults own no more than $248.

In contrast, just 33 million millionaires comprise less than 1% of the adult population, but own 46% of household wealth.

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Given the relative value of money, it is a false assumption that everyone at the bottom of the pyramid are the same, face the same challenges, and therefore can be helped in the same way. 

Understanding the stratifications at the bottom of the pyramid can also help point to a solution - even small increases in daily income can lead to transformational changes in terms of quality of life, economic participation, and opportunities for literally billions of people.

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Low Income

Typically have a couple of years of secondary education and the skills needed to enter the job market. Many earn semiregular incomes as construction workers, petty traders, drivers, or low-level staff in public and commercial establishments. They conduct their transactions in both formal and informal markets, and they tend to live near or among the people who occupy the next layer up in the pyramid—those with incomes of just over $5 a day.


The bulk of the roughly 1.6 billion people who live on $1 to $3 a day are poorly educated and low skilled. Although they typically have some income as day laborers or temporary workers, their earnings are not steady. Many need improved sanitation, health care, and education. They can typically afford one square meal a day, but the nutritional content is often substandard.

Extreme Poverty

The bottom 1 billion lack basic necessities: sufficient food, clean water, and adequate shelter. War, civil strife, and natural disasters have displaced many from their homes. They are forced into transactions that are irregular even by the standards of informal markets. Some live in barter economies; others are bonded laborers. Women often have to walk long distances along nonsecure pathways to fetch water. Poor health, lack of nutrition, financial vulnerability, limited education, and a dearth of marketable skills shut them out of the organized economy.