Nearly half a billion people escaped extreme poverty the last five years: Brookings report

February 21, 2011

The Millennium Development Goal to halve the rate of global poverty by 2015 was met sometime in 2007, says the Brooking Institution in a new report, Poverty in Numbers: The Changing State of Global Poverty from 2005 to 2015.

By 2015, we will not only have halved the global poverty rate, but will have halved it again to under 10 percent, or less than 600 million people, with India and China responsible for three-quarters of the reduction in the world’s poor expected between 2005 and 2015.

“While these findings likely come as a surprise to many, they shouldn’t,” says the report. “Growth lies at the heart of poverty reduction. As developing country growth took off in the new millennium, epitomized in the rise of emerging markets, a massive drop in poverty was surely to be expected.

“With few exceptions, however, the international community has been slow to catch on. We hear far more about the 64 million people held back in poverty due to the Great Recession than we do about the hundreds of millions who escaped impoverishment over the last six years. While there is good reason to focus public attention on the critical and ongoing need to support those still stuck below the poverty line, there is also reason to celebrate successes and to ensure policy debates are grounded in reality.”