Extreme Poverty Is Likely To Reach A Historic Low By The End Of The Year

"This is the best story in the world today."

By the end of this year, the international community will likely be on track to eradicating one of the 21st century's biggest problems. In a new estimate by the World Bank, extreme poverty could fall below 10 percent for the first time ever by the end of 2015.

Based on the global institution's new poverty line (from $1.25 to $1.90, reflecting inflation and changes in international purchasing power), the percentage of people living in extreme poverty across the world will fall to 702 million people, or some 9.6 percent of the population. In contrast, 2012 saw 12.8 percent — or 902 million people — living in extreme poverty globally.

"This is the best story in the world today," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in the statement. "These projections show us that we are the first generation in human history that can end extreme poverty. This new forecast of poverty falling into the single digits should give us new momentum and help us focus even more clearly on the most effective strategies to end extreme poverty." 

The statement added that the estimate shows that we are closer to ending poverty by 2030, a goal from the World Bank Group that the international community, the U.S. and the United Nations has committed to.

Recent strong growth rates in developing countries, and investments in education, health and social safety nets have helped prevent people from falling back into poverty, Kim said. But the continued obstacles and prevalence of poverty means that its complete erasure remains an ambitious target.

"It will be extraordinarily hard, especially in a period of slower global growth, volatile financial markets, conflicts, high youth unemployment and the growing impact of climate change," he said. "But it remains within our grasp, as long as our high aspirations are matched by country-led plans that help the still millions of people living in extreme poverty."

Cover image via iStock / foto_abstract