The World Bank poverty headcount ratio at $1.90 a day (2011 PPP) (% of population) is the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day at 2011 international prices. After 25 years of steady decline, global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years. Disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic compounds forces of conflict and climate change, which were already slowing poverty reduction progress. Data from 2020 has not been reflected on official statistics yet.
Extreme poverty has experienced significant changes over the past four decades, with substantial progress made in reducing global poverty rates. Here is an overview of the general trends and milestones observed in the fight against extreme poverty.
1. 1980s: The 1980s marked a high point in extreme poverty rates, with more than 1.9 billion people living in extreme poverty, defined as living on less than $1.90 per day (in 2011 purchasing power parity terms).
2. 1990s: The 1990s witnessed the beginning of a positive shift. The United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established, setting targets for poverty reduction by 2015. The World Bank launched the Global Poverty Monitoring database, which improved the measurement of poverty.
3. 2000s: The first half of the 2000s saw significant progress in poverty reduction. In 2000, the United Nations adopted the MDG target of reducing extreme poverty by half. The global poverty rate fell from 28.0% in 1990 to 21.0% in 2001.
4. 2010s: The second half of the 2000s and the early 2010s witnessed accelerated progress in reducing extreme poverty. The World Bank’s “Global Monitoring Report” indicated that the MDG target of halving global poverty by 2015 was achieved in 2010, five years ahead of schedule. By 2013, the global poverty rate dropped to 10.7%.
5. 2020s: The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on poverty rates globally. The World Bank estimates that the pandemic pushed an additional 119-124 million people into extreme poverty in 2020. This setback underscored the vulnerability of impoverished populations during times of crisis.
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