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. 

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