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Monday Morning Optimism 4/10/23
Winning the War on Poverty
Welcome to our Monday Morning Optimism series. To start each week, we’ll send you an economic trend/fact/idea that shows how some aspect of the economy (or world) has improved over time.
The share of people living in extreme poverty has plummeted over the past 30 years. Worldwide, more than one in three people lived on less than $2.65 per day (inflation adjusted) in 1990.1 As of 2019, that share fell to fewer than one in eleven people.
The number of people living beneath the extreme poverty line decreased from a bit more than two billion in 1990 to fewer than 650 million in 2019. Put another way, there are 1.4 billion fewer people living in extreme poverty than there were 30 years ago. This is especially impressive when you consider that the global population increased by nearly 2.5 billion over that span.
This is, obviously, a good thing. Among the many positive implications, a lot of people have gained access to electricity. In 1997 (as far back as these data go), 1.63 billion people, or 27.3% of the global population, didn’t have access to electricity. As of 2019, that number had fallen to 761 million, or fewer than 10% of all people.
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We used the CPI calculator to adjust this for inflation. More precisely, the threshold for extreme poverty is $2.15 in 2017 dollars. $2.65 is a pretty good approximation of what that translates to in today’s dollars.