Despite Recession, Global Poverty Is Declining

World Bank figures show that 2010 absolute poverty levels were half what they were in 1990, suggesting that the UN has met its Millennium Development Goals five years early. 

What's the Latest Development?

According to the World Bank's Development Research Group, rates of absolute poverty were halved between 1990 and 2010, despite the recent financial and food-prices crisis. Estimates show that in 2008, "both the number and share of the population living on less than $1.25 a day," fell everywhere in the world for the first time ever. Much of the credit goes to China, which has brought 660 million people out of poverty since 1981. The country's economic growth over these years reduced poverty rates in South East Asia from 77 to 14 percent. 

What's the Big Idea?

Advancements have occurred in other parts of the world, too. After a rise in African poverty through the 80s and 90s, by 2008 the poverty rate had fallen to 47 percent. For the first time, less than half of Africa is living in abject poverty. Latin American, eastern Europe and Central Asia have also seen poverty rates drop, a testament to the increased number of social programs. Despite the progress, there is still much work to be done. The number of people making less than $2 fell only slightly, from 2.59 billion in 1981 to 2.44 billion in 2008. 

Photo credit:

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

James Patterson on writing: Plotting, research, and first drafts

The best-selling author tells us his methods.

  • James Patterson has sold 300 million copies of his 130 books, making him one of the most successful authors alive today.
  • He talks about how some writers can overdo it by adding too much research, or worse, straying from their outline for too long.
  • James' latest book, The President is Missing, co-written with former President Bill Clinton, is out now.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less