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The U.N.’s 2015 Millennium Development Goals Report, which was released earlier this month, has published findings that show a sharp improvement in overall global poverty.

The U.N.’s report highlights the progress that has been made since their Millennium Development Goals were first established in 2000. This plan, which set targets and timeframes for how to make an impact in global poverty by 2015, has ultimately been remarkably successful.

“What the goals did, by prioritizing and focusing, was actually put together major international donors, civil society partners on the ground, national governments focusing on the same sets of issues,” Mark Suzman, a U.N. official, told NPR. “And that allowed for a focusing of both policy change and resources and attention.”

The report highlights a number of significant changes that have been made since its inception over a decade ago. According to the report, the amount of people living in extreme poverty has dropped to less than half of what it was in 1990, from 1.9 billion to 836 million. The report also points out that overall primary school enrollment in developing regions has reached 91 percent.

“The report confirms that the global efforts to achieve the goals have saved millions of lives and improved conditions for millions more around the world,” said U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

The report doesn’t shy away from the work that still needs to be done, however. The report’s findings also include the fact that around one billion people still defecate in the open and 28 percent of children in South Asia younger than five can be classified as “moderately or severely underweight.”

“These successes should be celebrated throughout our global community,” Ki-moon added. “At the same time, we are keenly aware of where we have come up short.”

Alexander Jones

Sources: Aizenman, Economic Times, Sengupta

In an article about the promising reality of a global middle class, recent data from the Pew Research Center shows that global poverty has been dropping. Even though a majority of the world’s population is still considered “poor” and “low income”, that number has been halved from 2001 to 2011. Equally exciting, the middle class also grew.

The Pew data shows that there is a rise in prosperity concentrated in the areas of China, South America and Eastern Europe. Although being considered as “middle class” throughout the world is quite different from what is considered to be a middle-class lifestyle in the United States, it is significantly better than the World Bank’s global standard for extreme poverty—living on $2 a day.

However, it is important to note that when there is a discussion of the global standard for a “middle-class”, the World Bank describes “middle-class” as an individual who makes $10-$50 a day. So, while these numbers aren’t exactly ideal, it is significant enough to ensure that global “middle-class” families have enough money to purchase food to eat and the means to survive in moderate comfort within their geographical location.

Within the latest reports from Pew on the decrease of people within the poverty bracket, China largely drove the rise of the global middle class. In recent data, China is stated to have increased its share of individuals in the middle class by 15%, or by 203 million people. Regarding the fact that nearly 1 in 5 of the world’s population lives in China, this development is truly significant.

This amazing achievement of growing global income levels was in part due to significant economic reforms that have continuously helped facilitate growth and solidify China’s economy over the past three decades.

With these changes in world poverty statistics, ending world poverty seems to be all the more attainable.

– Alysha Biemolt

Sources: Pew Global, US News, World Watch, The World Bank
Photo: Flickr