A recent article in The Economist delivers great news: we very well could reduce extreme global poverty to three percent (possibly even one percent) by 2030. Considering extreme poverty (under $1.25 per day) in developing countries was successfully halved five years earlier than projected (from 43 percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2010), we have learned quite a lot about what is required to bring poverty rates down.
In a nutshell, countries' economies must grow, and inequalities must be reduced. But the situation is far from simple. Here are some highlights from the article:
- This week, the leaders of Britain, Indonesia and Liberia will recommend to the United Nations a list of post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, the most significant being a promise to end extreme poverty by 2030.
- Bringing the second billion out of poverty will be harder than it was the first.
- Data suggests that two-thirds of the 1990-2010 reduction in poverty was due to economic growth, and the other third was due to greater equality. Countries with greater income equality reduced poverty more and faster than those with large gaps.
- 75 percent of poverty reduction between 1990 and 2010 took place in China; India is poised as the next country to experience dramatic reductions.
Achieving this goalthe near eradication of extreme poverty by 2030will be remarkable. But $1.26 is still a meager existence. Growing family and community assets, empowering women and protecting the environment are Heifer International's methods for bringing families farther above the poverty line and ensuring long-term stability.