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You may have heard the exciting news: extreme poverty is down by 65 percent, and the World Bank expects global extreme poverty to fall below 10 percent this year. 

Additionally, the World Bank has updated the international extreme poverty line to $1.90 per person, per day (up from $1.25). The new poverty line reflects updated purchasing power parity (PPP) figures for the world’s 15 poorest countries. Something to understand, however, is that these calculations rely on 2011 PPPs, and that $1.90 in 2011 affords someone about the same things as $1.25 did in 2005.

At Heifer International, we are working to establish country-specific living incomes, which will be higher than $1.90 per person, per day, in most countries where we work. We are doing this because we want to ensure our families move so far out of poverty that they are at a very low risk of falling back into poverty. We want their farms to be so productive they can count on farming as a profitable business for generations to come.

So yes, celebrate that fewer than 10 percent of the world’s population will live on less than $1.90 a day, but remember there are millions who live between that line and a true living income. This is the gap we must close. 


Pierre Ferrari

Pierre Ferrari is president and CEO of Heifer International. Pierre is very passionate about empowering the families and communities with whom Heifer works: “It took me decades, but I have come to know that the only way to happiness and joy is to be of service to others.” Pierre’s other joys are his wife, Kim, his two sons and two stepdaughters. In his free time he enjoys golf, squash, reading and travel.