World Bank: Number of Extreme Poor Cut in Half over Last Decade

Poverty (Rodger Bosch / AFP / Getty)
Rodger Bosch / AFP / Getty
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The World Bank 2016 Edition of World Development Indicators reports that extreme poverty was cut in half from 1.4 billion to 700 million over the last decade.

The World Bank’s Sustainable Development Goals report found that global extreme poverty fell from 37 percent to 13 percent between 1990 and 2012. It is also estimated that the global extreme poverty rate was below 9 percent in 2015, a drop of more than two-thirds in the last twenty-five years.

The report highlights three key statistics regarding eliminating extreme poverty:

  • Even though the world’s population grew by 2 billion since 1990, there are over a billion fewer poor people;
  • Although the extreme poverty rates may have fallen dramatically, there are still large numbers of the extreme poor people living in big countries, like China and India;
  • A large number of countries have “stubbornly high poverty rates where a relatively small numbers of the world’s extremely poor live,” such as Haiti and Uganda.

The World Bank announced that the Millennial Development Goal (MGD) target of halving extreme poverty as measured by the share of people living under the international poverty line of $1.25 a day (using 2005 prices) was accomplished over the last 25 years.

The World Bank’s new Sustainable Development Goal for 2030 is to “eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on $1.90 a day in 2011 prices, as approved by the United Nations Statistical Commission.

Over the last 25 years, the international poverty line was updated whenever new data became available – from $1 a day to $1.08 a day to $1.25 a day. Each time, the updated line was used for Millennial Development Goal monitoring.

Although the extreme poverty rate fell dramatically on a percentage basis in large countries, in 2012 extreme poverty still included 230 million people in India and 87 million people in China. This represented 2 out of 10 Indians and fewer than 1 in 10 Chinese.

But in 2012, the extreme poverty rate in Madagascar was around 80 percent, or an estimated 18 million people living in extreme poverty.

The report estimates that if the international growth rate of the last decade prevails for the next 15 years, global extreme poverty rate will fall to 4 percent by 2030.

Although the report did not directly mention negative impacts on future growth rates if left-wing policies, such as the the United Nations Sustainable Development’s “17 Goals to “Transform Our World,” are adopted, the World Bank suggests if growth reverts back to the average of the past 20 years, extreme poverty will only be reduced to about 6 percent of the world’s population by 2030.