People living in extreme poverty are disproportionately afflicted by these deprivations. About 16 percent of the world’s rural population does not have access to safe drinking water supplies, as opposed to only four percent of the world’s urban population. And while 18 percent of those in urban areas lack safe sanitation facilities, in rural areas that number skyrockets to 50 percent, which equates to an astonishing one-third of the world’s people.
Absence of toilets and safe water means that 943 million people around the world have no choice but to practice open defecation, which contaminates water supplies and contributes to the spread of water-borne diseases. Children are especially susceptible to sickness caused by open defecation practices and bathing in dirty water sources.