World, Economy

Global poverty falls to record low: World Bank

Extreme poverty under 9 percent in 2018, according to preliminary forecast

Övünç Kutlu   | 19.09.2018
Global poverty falls to record low: World Bank

By Ovunc Kutlu

NEW YORK

The global poverty rate dropped to a record low in 2015 but the decline has slowed, hindering the goal of ending poverty by 2030, the World Bank said Wednesday.

The percentage of people living in extreme poverty decreased to a new low of 10 percent in 2015, the latest number available, down from 11 percent in 2013, according to the data.

The institution said extreme poverty in the world declined to 8.6 percent in 2018, according to its preliminary forecast.

During this period, the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day fell by 68 million to 736 million, it said.

"Over the last 25 years, more than a billion people have lifted themselves out of extreme poverty, and the global poverty rate is now lower than it has ever been in recorded history. This is one of the greatest human achievements of our time," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

"But if we are going to end poverty by 2030, we need much more investment, particularly in building human capital, to help promote the inclusive growth it will take to reach the remaining poor. For their sake, we cannot fail," he added.

Although around half of countries now have poverty rates below 3 percent, the institution said the world is not on track to achieve the target of less than 3 percent of the world living in extreme poverty by 2030.

"In the 25 years from 1990 to 2015, the extreme poverty rate dropped an average of a percentage point per year -- from nearly 36 percent to 10 percent. But the rate dropped only one percentage point in the two years from 2013 to 2015," the statement said.

Poverty reduction has been lagging regions such as Sub-Saharan Africa, where poverty will remain in double digits by 2030 unless there are significant shifts in policy, according to the World Bank.

The poverty rate in that region declined from 42.5 percent in 2013 to only 41.1 percent in 2015 and left 413.3 million poor.

In South Asia, the poverty rate dropped from 16.2 percent to 12.4 percent during that period, leaving 216.4 million impoverished.

The Middle East and North Africa region had a poverty rate of 2.6 percent in 2013, but conflict in Syria and Yemen raised it to 5 percent in 2015, the institution said.

East Asia and Pacific, Europe and Central Asia have all reduced extreme poverty to below 3 percent during that period.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the poverty rate fell from 4.6 percent in 2013 to 4.1 percent in 2015.

The World Bank will release its estimates with "Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2018: Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle" report on Oct. 17 -- End Poverty Day. 

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