Please see below selected recent poverty-related change.
- What's New? - Poverty
- UN Sustainable Development Goal 1 of ending poverty in all its forms everywhere by 2030.
- World Poverty Clock
- Max Roser of Our World in Data calculated that at a minimum the world economy needs to increase five-fold for global poverty to substantially decline. This would also achieve a massive reduction in global inequality: inequality between all the world’s countries would disappear entirely in this scenario. It should therefore be seen as a calculation of the minimum necessary growth for an end of poverty. A five-fold increase of the global economy is certainly not easy, but is also not impossible, argues Roser. It's what the world has achieved in the last five decades, and the IPCC expect even more growth for this century in their ‘Sustainability Scenario’, the one in which the world is most successful in avoiding climate change
- Poor diet causes one in five deaths worldwide, around 11 million deaths a year. The research, published in the Lancet medical journal, found that among 195 countries studied, the proportion of diet-related deaths was highest in Uzbekistan and lowest in Israel. The United States ranked 43rd, while Britain was 23rd, China 140th and India 118th. Consumption of healthier foods such as nuts and seeds, milk and whole grains was on average too low, and people consumed too many sugary drinks and too much processed meat and salt.
- The pandemic put decades of poverty-reduction in reverse. In 2020, more than 120 million people fell below the poverty line globally, and the number of people in extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1997.
- There will be 20 million fewer Americans living in poverty in 2021 than in 2018, a decline of almost 45 percent and the sharpest reduction ever in such a short period of time. This is largely due to a huge yet temporary COVID-fuelled expansion of the US social safety net.
- A series of studies revealed that the pattern of coronavirus deaths across the UK was shockingly comparable to the regional spread of poor health and mortality in Victorian times. “If you had a map of Covid's biggest effects now and a map of child deaths in 1850”, remarked Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, “they look remarkably similar". And both map neatly - and depressingly - onto patterns of deprivation, noted Goodbusiness, adding that crowded housing allows disease to spread more quickly; low-paid and insecure work forces people into contact with larger numbers of people; and underlying health conditions make those who become infected more likely to get seriously ill.
- The Financial Times warned that even the indirect economic impacts of the pandemic have hurt many poorer countries more, even those that have avoided mass infection, as international tourists have stayed away and normal trade has been interrupted. The pandemic brought to an end decades of poverty reductions. Between 88m and 115m people fell back into extreme poverty - defined as living on less than $1.90 a day - in 2929, according to World Bank estimates.
- Without government action, warned Oxfam, it will take over a decade for the number of people living in poverty worldwide to return to pre-pandemic levels.
- GZERO Media reported that about 70 percent of Syrians now live in poverty. The International Committee of the Red Cross reported that 30 percent of women have no income at all to support their families, and about 80 percent of Syrian youth struggle to afford food.
- GZERO Media also warned that the number of people affected by acute hunger has been rising globally in recent years. Extreme climate events, displacement as a result of conflict, disease and other calamities have left around nine percent of the world's population hungry. Across East Africa, for example, locust swarms decimate crops, leaving millions of people without food. Humanitarian agencies warn that famines may be inevitable in a host of crisis-hit nations if current trends continue - and the pandemic has only deepened the problem.
- The UN warned that without massive investment by governments around the world, the economic effects of the pandemic and lockdowns could push an additional 207 million people into extreme poverty globally by 2030.
- The Economist warned that the impacts would be felt already from 2021 onwards, The World Bank predicts that the pandemic will increase the ranks of the extremely poor, on less than $1.90 a day, by up to 150m. From 1990 until 2019 their numbers fell from 36% of the world’s population to 8%. Now they are increasing for the first time since 1998. The UN says 240m-490m people in 70 countries will be pushed into “multidimensional poverty”, a measure that includes lacking basic shelter or having children go hungry. Most of the newly destitute will be in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. City-dwellers will fare worse than the rural poor, because they cannot grow their own food and tend to work in informal sectors that have been slow to recover (for example, as maids or street vendors). Many saw their safeguards disappear in 2020. Remittances from family members abroad stopped. Many sold assets such as jewellery. Millions will return to their villages. Many children will leave school to go to work.
- The world’s poorest could take a decade to recover financially from the pandemic, but a report by Oxfam shows it took the world’s top 1,000 billionaires just nine months to recoup their fortunes as the crisis lays bare “the greatest rise in inequality since records began”. The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires grew by $3.9tn between March and December 2020, helped by a rebound in stock markets. Meanwhile, the number of people living in poverty doubled to more than 500 million, prompting calls for governments to address inequalities caused by the pandemic, noted LinkedIn.
- The health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic has led to a 40% spike in the number of people needing humanitarian assistance worldwide, the United Nations said. The UN said a record 235 million people worldwide will need humanitarian assistance and protection in 2021. Calling on the world to “stand with people in their darkest hour of need”, the UN launched an appeal for $35bn (£26bn) next year to provide humanitarian aid around the world. The UN's emergency relief coordinator, Mark Lowcock, said it was the bleakest and darkest assessment of humanitarian needs ever presented.
- The economic and political crises in Venezuela have plunged 65 percent of households into poverty and caused widespread food and medicine shortages. As a result, 1.7 million desperate Venezuelans have spilled over into neighbouring Colombia, putting a massive strain on Colombia's already weak public infrastructure.
- In 2019, members of the OECD club of rich nations contributed on average just 0.3% of their gross national income (GNI) to aid. Over a third of that amount ($55 billion) was in fact paid back to wealthy nations in debt repayments by countries in sub-Saharan Africa alone. More alarming perhaps is the missed opportunity: Oxfam analysis shows that donor countries would have paid an extra $5.7 trillion to help low- and middle-income countries fight poverty and inequality had they reached 0.7% from the start. To put it in perspective, that is enough money to help the world’s poorest 59 countries meet the Sustainable Development Goals for the next decade.
- The economic impact of the pandemic will push an additional 150 million people into extreme poverty by next year, said the World Bank. This marks the first time since 1998 that global extreme poverty has risen. Upending decades of progress, the pandemic has already thrown about 100 million people into extreme poverty worldwide - the biggest reversal of fortune since the World Bank began tracking the trend in 1990. The bank estimated that from 703 million to 729 million were living on less than $1.90 a day in late 2020, with poverty making new inroads into urban areas and reaching those with higher levels of education for the first time. Further, the bank estimated that eight out of 10 people who fall into extreme poverty will be in middle-income countries.
- A survey found that 44% of lower-income Americans said they had dipped into their retirement or other savings since the start of the coronavirus crisis, while only 16% of upper-income people said they had done so. As financial aid from the US Congress dried out, some 8 million more Americans were plunged into poverty in just six months of 2020, according to research by Columbia University.
- Only 12 percent of Latin American workers affected by the coronavirus crisis are eligible for government unemployment benefits, compared to some 44 percent of workers in North America and Europe. The IMF predicted that 15 years' worth of poverty alleviation in Latin America has now been undone because of the global economic crisis.
- At the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank estimated that 49 million people -most of them in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia - would be pushed into extreme poverty by Covid, undoing decades of progress. By late 2020, fresh data from the UN included even starker predictions: by 2021, 96 million people would be in extreme poverty.
- Indeed, decades of work to narrow the poverty gap between men and women worldwide would be undone by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN warned. It said that more women than men will be pushed into impoverished lives by next year, with informal workers in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America among the worst hit. (In Latin America and the Caribbean COVID-19 was expected to push an additional 231 million people into poverty and wipe out decades of economic progress.)
- Women are more likely to work in sectors hardest hit by lockdowns such as retail, restaurants and hotels and so have lost their jobs at a faster rate than men. According to UN estimates, the pandemic will push an extra 96 million people into extreme poverty by next year. For every 100 men aged 25 to 34 living in extreme poverty in 2021 there will be 118 women, and the UN expects the gap to increase to 121 women per 100 men by 2030.
- The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic would push 47 million women and girls into poverty in 2021. A UN report said that more women than men have lost their jobs due to COVID-19, while women and girls at most risk of becoming poor are those in subsistence-level occupations in the informal sector in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa.
- The coronavirus pandemic hit poorer countries harder than the rest of the world, sowing inequality globally, a BBC poll showed. The survey of nearly 30,000 people showed how different countries have been affected by the pandemic, six months after it was confirmed on 11 March 2020. The financial toll was a major issue, after lockdowns damaged economies worldwide. A drop in income was reported by 69% of respondents in poorer countries, in comparison to 45% in richer ones, the poll found. Overall, the research found that people in Latin America, Asia and Africa were more likely to say the virus had had a considerable impact on them than those living in Europe and North America. People in Kenya (91%), Thailand (81%), Nigeria (80%), South Africa (77%), Indonesia (76%), and Vietnam (74%) were most likely to have been affected financially.
- A paper published in 2020 found “a more rapid deterioration” in physical, mental and social functions among poorer people. Between 2004 and 2012, walking speed fell 38 per cent more in the least well-off group than among the richest. UCL’s Professor Andrew Steptoe, who led the study, concluded that the evidence showed “the corrosive nature of lower socio-economic status on our bodies, our minds, and our capabilities.”
- HBR claimed that blockchain-based payment systems can bring the more than 1.7 billion people who are unbanked or underbanked into the formal economy. And in doing so, they can render obsolete the expensive, usurious payment and informal financial services those people use to make ends meet. A generational pandemic makes this challenge all the more urgent, as decades of (admittedly uneven) economic progress are erased.
- Crime spiked in Lebanon as desperate people sought scarce basics like food and medicine, while others turned to a swarming online barter economy to survive. The deepening economic crisis pushed at least 500,000 children in Beirut into poverty, an aid group warned.
- Oxfam warned that, by the end of 2020, "12,000 people per day could die from hunger linked to Covid-19 - potentially more than will die from the disease itself". The charity says a number of factors will cause an increase in hunger, including mass unemployment, food producers dealing with lockdowns, and difficulties distributing aid. Their report identified 10 "hunger hotspots": Yemen, DR Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, West African Sahel, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, Sudan, and Haiti.
- Productivity growth was slowing worldwide before coronavirus but the pandemic, coupled with the lockdowns imposed by governments to slow its spread, risks making the situation even worse noted the Financial Times. Not only will the added uncertainty reduce the appeal of business investment and trade but higher government and private sector debt levels will constrain their effectiveness too. Education has been interrupted as has progress in improving healthcare. A World Bank report, warned that this could undo decades of global poverty reduction.
- Economic damage caused by the pandemic could plunge 400 million more people into extreme poverty, according to a new study, with those in south and east Asia worst affected. The paper, published by the UN, lays out several scenarios to estimate the coronavirus impact on global earnings. In the worst-case scenario - a 20% loss of per capita earnings - the number of those living on $1.90 (£1.50) a day could rise to more than a billion. More than 3.7 billion people, over half the world's population, could also see their earnings fall below $5.50 a day.
- The number of people living in extreme poverty in Latin America and the Caribbean could increase by more than 16 million to over 83 million by the end 2020 as a result of the pandemic-related economic crisis, said the UN. This would lead to a significant rise in hunger throughout the region unless urgent action is taken, warned the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.
- Up to 60m people will be pushed into "extreme poverty" by the coronavirus warned the president of the World Bank. David Malpass said the bank expects global economic growth to shrink by 5% this year as nations deal with the pandemic. This has already led to millions losing their jobs and businesses failing, with poorer countries feeling the brunt. "Millions of livelihoods have been destroyed and healthcare systems are under strain worldwide," he said. The World Bank defines "extreme poverty" as living on less than $1.90 (£1.55) per person per day.
- Over the past 20 years, 100 million Latin Americans rose out of poverty. Now, the UN warns, as many as 24 million of them could slide right back.
- The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge 500 million people into poverty, according to a report released by Oxfam. As incomes and economies continue to contract, global poverty will increase for the first time in 30 years, the report predicts, undermining many of the gains of globalisation that have pulled millions out of poverty in recent years.
- In countries where people's income is tied so closely to daily work, it's much more difficult to simply order everyone to stay home or to enforce social distancing in densely populated urban slums. In India and Brazil, for example, between a fifth and a quarter of the urban population lives in slums, according to the World Bank. In Nigeria, the figure is 50 percent. Elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, it can soar above 70 percent. Shanty towns are less than ideal for social distancing.
- Global unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be far worse than predicted, with 1.6bn workers in the informal economy facing “massive damage” to their livelihoods, the International Labour Organisation warned. The UN agency estimated that global working hours in the second quarter of the year would be equivalent to the loss of 305m full-time jobs compared with the end of 2019.
- A UN official warned that as many as 29 million people across Latin America and the Caribbean could be plunged into poverty because of the economic pain caused by the coronavirus. Latin America's economy, which was expected to contract 5.2 percent in 2020, would be hit far harder than any other region, and could take up to a decade to repair. This would undo many of the social and economic gains of the past two decades that have pulled millions out of poverty.
- More than half the world is now middle class, rather than poor and vulnerable, according to the Brookings Institution, and the proportion is rising.
- Some cities in drought-stricken Zimbabwe are now shutting down water supplies for up to 96 hours a week, prompting some desperate Zimbabweans to use untreated water, leading to a host of health problems.
- The global poverty rate fell significantly between 2010 and 2020, when almost 16% of people in the world lived on less than 2 dollars a day. Today the number is about 11% - a difference of about 400 million people.
- A study published by the African Child Policy Forum, an Ethiopian think tank, found that 60% of children across Africa don't eat often enough and that 90% don't meet the World Health Organisation's standard for a minimally acceptable diet. According to the report, hunger has stunted the growth of one in three African children, a startling statistic at a time of strong economic growth across much of the continent.
- A 2019 from the UN estimated that 94% of Venezuelans live in poverty today. Once South America's wealthiest country, Venezuela is experiencing one of the worst economic collapses ever recorded.
- In North Korea, 11 million people, about 40% of the population, are undernourished. Chronic malnutrition has stunted the growth of an estimated 20% of the country's children.
- An Indian nonprofit showed how free childcare at work could help disrupt the poverty cycle. In India, urban construction projects lure workers and their families from remote areas. The children of those families often wander about work sites without proper schooling, nutrition, or medical care. As Quartz explained, one nonprofit helped these children by offering onsite daycare, in a template that could work in other developing countries, too.
- Nigeria already has the world’s largest population of people living in extreme poverty, and that number is set to soar over the next 10 years, warned GZEROMedia.
- Oxfam’s 2019 report on widening global wealth inequality made for stark reading. In 2018, Oxfam noted, just 26 rich individuals owned as much combined wealth as the poorest 50% of the entire global population. Since its 2018 report, moreover, that bottom half has become 11.1% poorer. At the same time, more people became billionaires, and the richest billionaires became even richer.
- Poverty is one of the most significant indirect reasons causing deforestation across Africa – and it is increasing, warned Chatham House. The population across Africa is growing annually, and because it is a large land area with ample forests, Africans are using it to farm as a means of securing their food security while lifting themselves out of poverty. African farmers, however, are using tools that are not as sophisticated as those used in developed countries, which leads to farming being inefficient, and so farmers are using up a lot of land in order to produce enough crops while because of a lack of fertilisers, the land is also becoming exhausted, so more land is needing to be cleared. As a result of these factors, every year, farmers are expanding the area of land they are farming so that they can produce enough crops to make enough money.
- In A World of Three Zeros, Muhammad Yunus - a Nobel Peace Prize winner and founder of microcredit pioneer Grameen Bank - provided tangible examples of how the good work he advocates is happening all around the world. Yunus synthesised the arenas of business and beneficence to produce a hybrid: “social business,” which promotes personal self-sufficiency and the popular good through commercial activities. Yunus argues that the social business concept could result in “zero poverty, zero unemployment and zero net carbon emissions.
- GZEROMedia meanwhile warned that poverty and population growth in Africa could double the number of African immigrants trying to reach Europe over the next decade unless there is much greater investment in job creation for young Africans living in rural areas, a senior UN official has warned. Africa’s population is forecast to double - to 2.6 billion - by 2050.
- Further reading:
- According to the OECD, by 2030, more than 80% of the world’s poor will live in areas defined as fragile: highly exposed to risk with insufficient coping capacity to manage, absorb or mitigate such threats. With development aid and foreign investment struggling to comprehensively address the causes and effects of state fragility, there may be an increasingly strong case for private money to be mobilised for social good. Against this backdrop, Chatham House considered the role of impact investment. This approach aims to deliver a measurable positive social or environmental change through targeted capital investment to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
- The World Bank’s measure of poverty is flawed, argued Quartz. Countries with strong economic growth often redistribute wealth unevenly, creating and reproducing poverty.
- According to HumanProgress, about 44 Indians come out of extreme poverty every minute, one of the fastest rates of poverty reduction in the world.
- Since 1990, China has accounted for two-thirds of those lifted out of poverty globally.
- HumanProgress claims that World Bank data show the number and proportion of people in dire poverty worldwide has plummeted over the past two decades. In 1990, 35.5% of the world’s population (1.9bn people) lived below the equivalent of $1.90 (£1.47) per day. By 2013, this had fallen to 10.9%, or 782m. That’s the most rapid fall in poverty in global history.
- However, as Bill and Melinda Gates wrote in the introduction to their 2018 Goalkeepers report, “decades of stunning progress in the fight against poverty and disease may be on the verge of stalling. This is because the poorest parts of the world are growing faster than everywhere else; more babies are being born in the places where it’s hardest to lead a healthy and productive life. If current trends continue, the number of poor people in the world will stop falling—and could even start to rise.”
- Furthermore, in 2017, there were nearly 40 million more people living in hunger than there were in 2015, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) - a number that sets global progress against undernutrition back nearly a decade, despite a global, UN-led commitment to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030. The increase isn’t just in absolute terms- percentage-wise more people starve today than they have since the early 2000s - 10.9% globally, and 20.4% in Africa.
- The world’s priority should be reducing poverty in Africa, claimed Bill Gates, warning that economic models show 90% of people in extreme poverty could be in just that one continent. Indeed, if current trends hold, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will account for 44 percent of all people living in extreme poverty by 2050, according to a new Gates Foundation report. Today, they are home to around a fifth of the world’s poorest.
- Meanwhile, over 20% of Indians still live on less than $1.90 a day. Rural wages have actually declined over the last two years, athough India has made extraordinary strides in poverty reduction in recent decades, positively more than 270 million poor (most of them in rural areas).
- A report from three Venezuelan universities estimates that 87 percent of the country’s households were living in poverty in 2017 and that 64 percent of Venezuelans lost weight last year at an average of 11.4 kilos, reported GZEROMedia.
- IMF president Christine Lagarde noted that, given what we know about the future of work, how can anybody thrive in the modern economy without at least a secondary education? As H.G. Wells put it, “Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe.” According to UNESCO, world poverty would be cut in half if all people completed secondary education.
- Who is voluntourism for? It’s now hugely popular for those living in wealthy countries to visit poorer ones—often specifically to offer help, playing with orphaned children or building community structures. But voluntourism has become a for-profit activity, Tina Rosenburg reports for the Guardian, and often does local communities more harm than good.
- Further reading:
- A monthly poll of public attitudes in 28 countries found that 56% of respondents felt their countries were on the wrong track, with unemployment and poverty/inequality topping the list of complaints.
- The RSA explored the plight of the thousands of children living in destitution in the UK who do not appear in school poverty statistics because their families, owing to their immigration status, cannot access public funds such as housing benefit and child support. Local authorities, schools and third sector organisations are picking up the pieces left behind by national immigration policies.
- In 1981, 44.% percent of the world lived in extreme poverty (i.e., less than $1.90 per person per day). In 2015, it was 9.6%, according to HumanProgress. That's a decline of 78 percent.
- Further reading:
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- Further reading:
- Quartz analysed Brazil’s audacious plan to lift children out of poverty, a "wildly ambitious" national programme that’s set to offer parent coaching to four million low-income pregnant women and their children by 2020.
- Nigeria passed India to become home to the most people living in extreme poverty in early 2018, according to a recent Brookings analysis. Six Nigerians join the ranks of the world’s poorest every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.
- More than half of Afghanistan’s population – 55 percent – now lives below the poverty line, according to a national survey. That’s up more than twenty points since 2008, according to a study done by the Afghan statistics bureau. The increase is tied to deteriorating security conditions, particularly since the withdrawal of NATO troops between 2012-2014, as well as reductions in international aid, according to GZEROMedia.
- About 14.8 million Brazilians now live in extreme poverty, an increase of 11 percent since 2016, according to GZEROMedia.
- Every day, 217,000 people rise out of extreme poverty globally,
- The Economist suggested that extreme poverty could be largely eradicated in 20 years, though the comments to its piece make it clear that not everyone is so optimistic.
- The world has already made great progress in reducing extreme poverty – nearly 1.1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty since 1990. Still, nearly 800 million people live on less than $1.90 per day, and reaching them will become harder and harder as we get closer to 2030. Reducing inequality is a key component to making growth work better for the poorest, and helping millions across the globe improve their lives.
- 2011 was the first since the industrial revolution where less than 1 billion people were living in extreme poverty in the world (as defined by living on less than $1.90 a day). Since then, the number of people living in poverty has continued to decline drastically. Today, 6.6 billion of the world’s 7.3 billion people do not live in extreme poverty.
- Jacaranda Health provides high quality and affordable maternity clinics for low-income women in Nairobi, Kenya.
- Who Does Global Poverty Threaten examined a growing tendency to view global poverty as a threat not to the acutely poor but to elites in the global North. Unchecked migration, terrorism, and disease vectors are seen as manifestations of that threat, against which elites now seek.
- Data from the World Development Indicators also help monitor the SDGs. For example, these World Bank's poverty data are based on primary household survey data obtained from government statistical agencies.
- For all the detailed tools developed to study finance in past decades, relatively few scholars have brought those methods to bear on a pressing social question: how do poor people manage their finances? A long-term study of the poor in small Thai villages tried to shed light on the issue.
- About 925m people still go around the world still go hungry every day. At the same time, agriculture’s share of global development aid has dropped from 16% in 1980 to 4% today; in sub-Saharan Africa, just 4% of the cultivated land is equipped for irrigation; and in poorer nations worldwide 25-50% of the harvest spoils before it reaches the table.