Yearly, the United Nations’ Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) provides necessary insight into the state of poverty worldwide. The three dimensions of the MPI are health, education and nutrition, taking into account various statistics and information related to each factor. The MPI provides insight into what is contributing to multidimensional poverty in various countries as well as which countries are facing the worst poverty crises. However, 2023’s MPI also revealed some important and encouraging information regarding poverty reduction worldwide. While 1.1 billion people still live in poverty, over the course of the last 15 years, 25 countries have halved their levels of multidimensional poverty.
Where Poverty Is Declining
While poverty reduction has been seen in countries throughout the globe, many of the most successful countries have been located in Asia. In India, 415 million people have exited poverty over the last 15 years, equating to just more than 6% of the world’s population. In China, 69 million have exited poverty, and in Indonesia, another 8 million people have exited poverty. Additionally, Cambodia has slashed the number of people living in poverty in half over the last seven years.
And yet, while many have left poverty in these countries, an overwhelming majority of the world’s poor live in Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. In fact, according to the U.N., roughly five out of every six persons living in poverty are from those two regions of the world. However, that also means that these countries can look towards their neighbors for examples of how to implement successful policies aimed at poverty reduction worldwide. Each successful country has implemented programs aimed at the various dimensions of the U.N.’s Global Multidimensional Poverty Index.
India experienced a dramatic decrease in a variety of dimensions of poverty over the past 15 years. Notably, the lack of access to electricity fell from 29% of the population to just 2%. Child mortality was also slashed in half, from 4% to 2%. India has increased access to health care for millions of people over these years, much of it through the Ayushman Bharat National Health Protection Scheme.
Through the Ayushman Bharat, India aims to improve health care access for many poor, rural and urban families. According to the Indian Government, the program is intended to cover nearly 500 million people, giving them access to better health coverage. This will allow many more families, and hundreds of millions of children, the opportunity to live longer, healthier lives. Additionally, it will help to decrease child mortality, one of the key indicators of multidimensional poverty.
Cambodia has had particular success reducing poverty, dropping from 47.8% to 13.55% in seven years from 2007 to 2014 as a result of economic growth. As a result, life expectancy has increased by nine years, and the percentage of kids completing primary school jumped from 50% to 90%.
The World Bank has done extensive work modernizing the Cambodian economy, as well as improving agriculture to address food insecurity now and in the future. Much of that has been done by investing in Cambodia’s agricultural productivity and making sure it is sustainable in the future. This will allow Cambodians continued access to staple crops such as rice and will boost a significant portion of the economy.
What This Means
The U.N.’s MPI in 2023 indicates that the actions the world is taking to reduce poverty are working, but there is still a long way to go. For every country that has slashed poverty like Cambodia, there is another country that is dealing with factors that are increasing poverty. While countries can turn to the examples provided for successful ways to deal with poverty, each situation is different, and developed countries could play a vital role in the effort to reduce worldwide.
– John Rooney