A report from the World Bank estimates that the percentage of people living in extreme poverty around the globe will fall below 10 percent by the end of the year.
The report, Ending Extreme Poverty and Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies (83 pages, PDF), projects that the number of people living below an updated international poverty line of $1.90 a day will have fallen from 902 million, or 12.8 percent of the global population, in 2012 to 702 million, or 9.6 percent, this year. According to the report, strong economic growth and investments in education, health, and social safety nets have helped lift about a billion people out of extreme poverty since 2000. At the same time, extreme poverty has become more concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, where nearly half the global poor live, even as the extreme poverty rate in the region fell from an estimated 56 percent in 1990 to a projected 35 percent in 2015. Another third of the globe's extremely poor are concentrated in South Asia, where the extreme poverty rate is projected at 13.5 percent, down from 50.6 percent in 1990.
The key challenges for meeting the Sustainable Development Goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030, the report argues, are the depth of the remaining pockets of poverty, unevenness in shared prosperity, and persistent disparities in non-income dimensions of development, including limited access to quality education and health services. To address those challenges, the report calls for policies that sustain broad-based economic growth, focus investment on human development, and protect the poor and vulnerable against emerging risks. The report also calls for a greater focus on the development of person-equivalent measures of poverty that better communicate the depth of extreme poverty, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.
"This is the best story in the world today — these projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty," said World Bank president Jim Yong Kim. "This new forecast of poverty falling into the single digits should give us new momentum and help us focus even more clearly on the most effective strategies to end extreme poverty. It will be extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment, and the growing impact of climate change. But it remains within our grasp, as long as our high aspirations are matched by country-led plans that help the still millions of people living in extreme poverty."