Do you ever wonder what might happen in the future? The poor that you might see on the street, will they still be there? Will poverty increase? Will the condition of our world worsen?

If we look at the last 200 years, Poverty has decreased. By a lot.

Source: Poverty in the rich world when it was not nearly so rich, Martin Ravallion.
Note: ACN — Australia, Canada, New Zealand; ACH — Austria-Czechoslovakia-Hungary; BSM — Benelux-Switzerland-Micro-European States; PS — Portugal, Spain; UKI — United Kingdom and Ireland.

SDG 1 aims to end poverty, in all its forms, everywhere. Globally, poverty has been in decline, but even before this year, the pace of that decline had slowed. The economic effects of COVID-19 may have pushed more than 100 million more people into extreme poverty — the first significant increase in this measure in decades (The near future of global poverty, 2020).

At its broadest, poverty reflects an individual’s inability to achieve a particular level of welfare, in terms that may include food, clothing, transportation, public services, health, wealth, or even recreation. The discussion here focuses on poverty in a narrower sense: income or consumption in monetary terms (The near future of global poverty, 2020).

The most pernicious form of poverty recognized under the SDGs is extreme poverty, which is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day and is applied regardless of where a person lives (The near future of global poverty, 2020).

Eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 is the focus of SDG target 1.1. In 2015, when the SDGs were adopted, that target appeared ambitious but within reach. In fact, the remarkable reduction of extreme poverty in the last few decades is one of the success stories of global development (The near future of global poverty, 2020).

The Global Population grew from 5.3 billion to 7.5 billion from 1993 to 2017. Yet, over the same period the number of people living in extreme poverty fell from 1.9 billion to 689 million.

If that trend had continued beyond 2017, SDG target 1.1 would be met in 2024, six years early.

Unfortunately, projections suggest this outcome will not be achieved. Even under reasonably optimistic scenarios developed before the COVID-19 pandemic, 6.1 percent of the world’s people would likely have still been living in extreme poverty by 2030 (COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021, 2021).

Photo credit: Abir Abdullah for ADB 2012

To see why, we need to look beneath the global trend and adopt a country-by-country perspective.

Actually, China and India were mainly responsible for that decline in poverty. The rest of the world made lesser progress. For example, in Africa, the number of people has actually increased. If you change your perspective from global to individual countries, only a handful of countries will reduce if not eliminate poverty.

Source: World Bank. World Development Indicators (SI.POV.NAHC).

The increase or decrease in Poverty really depends on our World Situation. There are many things that we cannot predict at all. For example, this pandemic. Countries need to take action in order to stop or reduce poverty. We will go more depth into the efforts to stop poverty next week.


The near future of global poverty. (2020). The Atlas of Sustainable Development Goals 2020.

COVID-19 to Add as Many as 150 Million Extreme Poor by 2021. (2021). World Bank.


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