The number of people living in extreme poverty is continuing to plunge, despite the 2008-09 financial crisis and slowing global economic growth, according to a World Bank study released Sunday. In the report, “Poverty and Shared Prosperity,” the World Bank says the progress proves that eliminating extreme poverty is an achievable goal.
Here’s the study’s key findings:
In 2013, fewer than 800 million people lived on less than $1.90 a day. That’s less than 11 percent of the global population. As recently as 1990, about 35 percent of all people lived in such extreme poverty.That means about 1.1 billion people rose out of extreme poverty.
50 percent of extremely poor people live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Even with a rocky global economy, earnings rose for the poorest 40 percent of people in 60 out of 83 countries studied between 2008 and 2013. The most significant contributions to declining poverty between 2012 and 2013 came from East Asia and the Pacific.
The World Bank studied several countries where inequality declined in recent years including Brazil, Cambodia, Mali, Peru and Tanzania. It identified six successful policies:
- Early childhood development and nutrition
- Universal health coverage
- Universal access to quality education
- Making cash transfers to poor families
- Rural infrastructure — especially roads and electrification
- Progressive taxation
Though poverty and inequality have continuously trended down, researcher Francisco Ferreira said, “the pockets of poverty that remain will become increasingly harder to reach and address.”