If it sometimes feels like we should have solved poverty by now, here’s a bit of a historical perspective. When we cast back and look at the progress made on poverty in the last 200 years, here’s what we see. (Full size and more detail here)
There is no single data-set going back 200 years, so it’s not a perfect comparison, but the message stands: huge progress has been made. In my own lifetime the number of people living in poverty has fallen from 55% to 10%.
Neither should we be complacent, mind you. The black line there shows people living on $1.90 a day. I think we can all agree that moving up to $2 or $3 a day is hardly mission accomplished and the end of poverty. The percentage that remains also represents communities that are harder to reach or in particularly vulnerable circumstances – refugees or displaced people for example, or those in remote rural areas.
So there’s more to do, but we shouldn’t miss just how much has already been accomplished.