The number of people living in extreme poverty worldwide will likely fall to under-10% of the global population in 2015, a new World Bank report recently predicted. That is down from 37.1% in 1990 and means the world is moving closer to a goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030.
However, an estimated 900 million people still live on less than $1.90 a day and that figure is expected to be around 700 million in 2015. In light of those numbers, “extreme poverty still remains unacceptably high,” the report said. The Bank has also updated its poverty line — an average of the minimum level of income a household needs to meet its basic needs in 15 of the world’s poorest countries — to $1.90 a day from $1.25.
Here are five things the report told us.
1. Poverty is Falling Steadily
The global poverty rate has fallen by about one percentage point a year since 1990. The proportion of the global population living on less than $1.90 a day in 2012 was about a third of that in 1990. India and China played a central role in this reduction.
2. It’s Going to Be Hard to Reach the Remaining Poor
There is a concentration of poor people living in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa typically have economies that rely on natural resources and are often “fragile and conflict-affected”. Poverty is less responsive to growth in such economies because the availability of jobs is limited.
3. There is More to Poverty than the Poverty Line
Beyond having limited access to basic goods, a lack of access to education, health, housing and employment also contributes to poverty. A person may be considered non-poor according to the traditional income-based measure despite being subject to multiple deprivations in other dimensions.
4. Infrastructure is Key
Access to infrastructure can help reduce rural poverty by providing farmers with access to markets. For example, better access to electricity in India has allowed more men and women to work and has meant more girls go to school, while access to railways helped reduce the impact of weather shocks.
5. Half the Globe’s Poor Live in Lower-Middle Income Countries
About half of the world’s poor live in lower-middle-income countries such as India. The country was home to the largest number of poor in 2012, but its poverty rate is one of the lowest among nations with large numbers of poor people.