Behind the Numbers: Towards an end to extreme poverty?

Article published on July 22, 2016
Article published on July 22, 2016

Don't worry folks; it's still possible to find a shred of good news in 2016. Even if you have to search pretty damn hard to uncover it.

You feel it too, eh? Between BrexitDonald TrumpTurkey, the attacks in Nice and the scorching weather, moments of ecstasy seem few and far between. No wonder you don't feel like getting off the sofa. Sure, there's Pokémon Go, but all you have to do is glance at your old iPhone 3GS to see that even technology is out to get you.

What's left to be happy about? Good news is still out there, you just have to dig a little to find it. That's the basic premise of this article from the American site Quartz. In the miserable narrative of the global economy, we nevertheless see that the number of people living in extreme poverty – who survive on less than 1.90 dollars a day – has literally plummeted over the course of half a century. Looking at the data, the good news is that since 1970, more than 1.5 billion people have climbed out of such conditions. Today, extreme poverty "only" affects 710 million human beings, roughly 9.6% of the global population.

According to statistics from the World BankChina deserves much of the credit. In 1981, 880 million Chinese citizens suffered from extreme poverty. By 2010, this had fallen to 150 million. Thanks to the Middle Kingdom's economic miracle, the global population is doing a little better.

But only a little. Because if you start thinking too much about the situation in sub-Saharan Africa, or the impact that the Chinese economy his having on certain social classes in other countries across the globe, you'll quickly get back to hiding under your sofa cushions.

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This article is part of our Behind the Numbers series, illustrating newsworthy stats with artistic design and a brief analysis.