Explaining the Massive Global Reduction in Poverty Since 1990From massive technological improvements to the ever-growing global communications network, world progress has proved exponential in the past 30 years. One such area of improvement is the global poverty crisis. While we advocate for further intervention within affected communities, it’s appropriate to step back occasionally and admire some victories made to this point. Since 1990, the statistics for poverty have plummeted. The extreme poverty rate globally fell from 35% to 11%. This means that 1.1 billion people are now living off of more per day than in the past. No individual body or organization can earn full credit for this global reduction in poverty; the effort is a result of dedication and persistence among a plethora of governments, groups and interested parties.

What Caused the “Lift?”

While the causes for the widespread poverty alleviation are varied, there are some programs that are generally implemented by governments (both locally and internationally) or even non-governmental organizations that work effectively to reduce poverty. These programs include microfinance, employment guaranteed schemes and property rights, among others.

NGOs are myriad and diverse. Some work directly in communities while others advocate for government assistance with these humanitarian issues. Two different but equally important contributors to this cause are Global Citizen and Oxfam International.

What these Groups Do

Oxfam International is an organization dedicated to creating change within local communities. Initially a combination of multiple independent NGOs, Oxfam has had enormous success globally since its inception, assisting local communities suffering from famine, disease and even sanitation struggles. Currently, its attention is focused on the refugee crisis in Bangladesh.

Global Citizen is a unique non-profit focused on educating people about global issues regarding education, sanitation, food availability and social awareness. The website has short quizzes, “actions” and other available resources for people to interact with. All of these resources serve a purpose, whether it be education, advocacy or simply direct fundraising. In turn, the person earns “points,” and these points can go toward raffles and gift opportunities. The website rewards initiative on the part of the reader, making poverty education interesting.

Together, these two groups have advocated and assisted vulnerable groups in impoverished countries. The success of these groups adds to the general trend in lower poverty rates worldwide, and many different organizations spanning every continent deserve praise for the improved global living conditions we’ve seen since 1990. The global reduction in poverty requires unification, and with plenty of different groups focused on different tasks, the success is apparent.

Room for Progress

Despite the success to date, the opportunities to improve globally still exist. Regarding the aforementioned decrease in extreme poverty, 11% of the globe is still around 800 million impoverished people, and with modern resources, experts think the battle could be more efficient. As such, it’s important to look at the global reduction in poverty through these lenses: if foreign governments and organizations become content with the work done to this point, public interest in the fight would surely cease. The fight against poverty only persists as long as the world cares about it and the global community continues to contribute.

Joe Clark
Photo: Flickr

Between 1990 and 2015, there was a significant global decrease in child mortality. The number was reduced from nearly 14.2 million deaths in 1990 to just over 7.2 million in 2015. It was only recently, in 2015, that the number of deaths for children under age five dropped below six million.

Around one-third of the world’s nations have reduced their child mortality rates by two-thirds. In another 74 countries, the number has been reduced by one-half.

In a study conducted by the Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration, health in children under the age of 19 in 195 countries was studied and examined. The report defines the most common causes of death for children and compares countries based on the socio-demographic index. The socio-demographic index is a measurement of development and is based on average income, educational attainment and total fertility rate.

Global Efforts at Reducing Child Mortality Rates

So, what has the international community been doing to contribute to the global decrease in child mortality? The world has been focused on implementing and popularizing several health initiatives and strategies. The World Health Organization (WHO) has outlined several of these strategies. These initiatives include ensuring immediate and exclusive breastfeeding as well as medical professional advice during birth and postnatal care. In addition, access to nutritional supplements and educational resources about warning signs in health have become more prevalent. Appropriate provisions for sanitary water and immunizations employed by WHO have also contributed to decreasing child mortality rates.

Many international organizations are partnering up to support the fight against child deaths. A Global Vaccine Action Plan is working toward universal access to immunization by the year 2020. Over 170 countries have signed onto A Promise Renewed, a call for action led by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the governments of Ethiopia, the U.S. and India. The campaign is working to ensure that children are not dying from easily preventable causes.

There is Still Work to be Done

Although the number of child deaths has been reduced significantly, child mortality is still an issue, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Most of the world has not yet reached the levels outlined in the Millennium Development Goals. Countries with lower socio-demographic indexes still suffer disproportionately from child mortality. Experts suggest that this may be due to a historical lack of health development resources and accessibility.

The study from the Global Burden of Disease Child and Adolescent Health Collaboration concluded with a statement that, “timely, robust and comprehensive assessment of disease burden among children and adolescents provides information that is essential to health policy decision making in countries at all points along the spectrum of economic development.” The Collaboration hopes that the data from the study will help the international community to continue fighting child mortality. The global decrease in child mortality has made a positive impact on poverty and health care development, but there is still a ways to go before the Millenium Development Goals are met.

Taylor Elgarten

Photo: Flickr