There are many global development indicators that are worth mentioning, however the five apex indicators we’ve found are:
- Hunger and Nutrition: The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that between the years of 2010-2012, 870 million people were undernourished. To many, 870 million is a difficult number to grasp, so in more relatable terms, imagine the population of the United States going hungry about three times over. While starvation is certainly a form of malnutrition, the term also represents any diet severely lacking in essential vitamins. The lack of certain vitamins can lead to a smorgasbord of life long mental and physical health issues. Although the overall number of malnourished people has declined in recent years, there is still much to be done to prevent developmentally stunted children and persistent illnesses plaguing entire populations. While this number is high, to be sure, over the past 20 years, the figure has been effectively halved. Primarily through domestic development, individuals have greater access to higher value foodstuffs.
- Poverty Rate: The Global Poverty Rate has effectively been cut in half in the last 20 years. On the whole, governments and NGOs have set the threshold for global poverty at $1.25 a day, which is far less than the American poverty threshold of $30. While this level of purchasing power is painfully low, from the years of 1990 to 2010, global poverty has declined from 43 percent to 21 percent, respectively. While support from NGOs, non-profits, and to some degree foreign assistance certainly play a role, the decline in global poverty can almost be almost entirely attributed to domestic economic development. The Economist reports that between 1981 and 2001, approximately 680 million Chinese were lifted out of poverty due to domestic economic development.
- Population Growth: Population Growth is highest in Sub-Saharan Africa and Lowest in Developed Europe. According to the World Bank, the world population grew by about 1.2 percent each year between 2000 and 2010. Globally, at about 2.5 percent, a year, the Sub-Saharan countries of Africa represented the highest population growth rate. The lowest, on the other hand, were European and Central Asian countries, which averaged around 0.2 percent growth per year. While it almost seems irrational, where there is economic prosperity, birthrates tend to decline. In poorer countries, parents are inclined to have more children in order to ensure survival of at least one or two. In a self perpetuating manner, with more children and less food, poverty rates and hunger skyrocket.
- Health: HIV/AIDS disproportionately affects poorer regions. According to World Bank statistics, in 2009, 31-33 million people were living with HIV/AIDS globally. This equates to approximately the entire population of California. In Sub-Saharan Africa, 14.8 million children have lost one or both parents to the disease. Despite intensive care campaigns, the World Health Organization estimates that only 5.25 (36 percent) of those suffering from the disease are receiving treatment.
- Child Mortality: Child Mortality Rates are Steadily Declining. On a global scale, a tell-tale sign of a countries development is their infant mortality rate. A welcome statistic the world over is that this rate is falling in all areas of the globe. In developing nations, the World Bank has found, infant mortality rates per 1,000 births has dropped from 98 in 1990 to 63 in 2010. With greater access to care, more abundant resources, and fewer unplanned pregnancies, developing nations are able to keep more and more of their young alive into adolescence. While matters seem to be improving, underdeveloped nations still exhibit shocking infant mortality rates. In Sub-Saharan Africa, a newborn stands only a one in eight chance to see their fifth birthday.