Despite Global Economic Crisis, Poverty Fell in All Regions of the World
Since 2008, the global economy has seen massive financial losses. During the same period of time, food prices spiked, which prompted many researchers to assume that the billions of people living in poverty would only increase in number. A new report by the World Bank’s Development Research Group, however, has found that poverty has fallen in every region of the world for the first time ever.
Extreme poverty, defined by the World Bank at living under $1.25 per day, has ravaged many parts of Asia, Africa, and South America over the last century. The World Bank itself released a report saying “Unemployment is on the rise in industrial countries and poverty is set to increase across low- and middle-income countries, bringing with it a substantial deterioration in conditions for the world’s most vulnerable.” That was in 2008.
According to the World Bank that number has actually declined significantly with much of the decline in extreme poverty credited to China’s poverty-fighting measures that have helped nearly 700 million people get out of poverty over the last thirty years. Estimates said that 84 percent of the country lived in poverty in 1981, down to just 13 percent in 2008. Even when the global economy collapsed, China’s growth remained steady at 9+ percent.
In Africa, poverty rose every three years between 1981 and 2005 but has since dropped by millions of people. Although 47 percent of people in Africa still live in extreme poverty, it’s the first time in history that less than half the continent has been below the poverty line. As recently as 2002, the percentage of Africans living in extreme poverty was 55.7 percent. In the Middle East and Northern Africa, the rate of people living in extreme poverty dropped from 4.2 percent to 2.7 percent.
The United Nations has already met their Millennium Development Goals to cut extreme poverty by 50 percent, five years earlier than their 2015 deadline. The Millennium project has also succeeded in bringing greater access to clean drinking water. Eighty-nine percent of the world now has access to drinking water as opposed to 76 percent in 1990.
(Image courtesy of FMSC)