Positive Results: The War on Poverty
In the last 20 years, governments, firms, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and leaders of industry’s efforts have helped to dramatically reduce the number of people living beneath $2 per day. Between 2001 and 2011 alone, the war on poverty resulted in reducing the percentage of the population affected from 29 percent to 15 percent.
As a result, the war on poverty has led to an expanding middle class, with people living off of less than $10 a day falling from 79 percent to 71 percent. Although the shift was not enormous, it still factors into an increase in prosperity for millions.
But the war of poverty results in more than monetary gains. Since 1990, extreme poverty has also been cleaved by more than half, elevating the lives of more than a billion people, according to the United Nations. Here are five other life-changing impacts that the war on poverty has produced.
Between 2000 and 2012:
Approximately 3.3 million deaths from malaria were avoided because of the substantial expansion of malaria interventions funded by international aid. Increased rates of measles immunization have also prevented an estimated 14 million deaths. In addition, since 1995, an estimated 22 million lives have been saved from tuberculosis.
More than 2.3 billion people have gained access to an improved source of drinking water. This improvement allows communities to spend less time acquiring water and give more time to poverty reducing activities, such as working or attending school.
The number of children dying under the age of five has almost been halved, dropping from 90 deaths per 1,000 live births to 48 per 1,000 live births. The child survival rates have also improved. Between 2005 and 2012, the yearly rate of reduction in child mortality was more than three times faster than between 1990 and 1995.
Almost 2 billion people gained access to an improved sanitation facility, preventing communicable diseases and contamination of water sources.
An estimated 90 percent of primary school-aged children are enrolled in school, increasing their chances at breaking the poverty cycle in impoverished communities. The gender disparity gap of boys to girls enrolled in school has also shrunk significantly.
According to the U.N., for the first time in human history, the ability to strike down extreme poverty is within reach.
– Claire Colby
Sources: Bloomberg View, UN 1, UN 2