Research: Extreme poverty could end by 2050 – at least almost

By 2050, what we now understand as extreme poverty could almost be a thing of the past.

Research: Extreme poverty could end by 2050 – at least almost

By 2050, what we now understand as extreme poverty could almost be a thing of the past. Those who are considered "extremely poor" have less than 2.15 US dollars a day at their disposal. According to the World Bank, this affects around 700 million people worldwide, i.e. around 8.5 percent of the population. Now this share could drop to around two percent in the coming decades. This is shown by models from the Center For Global Development, a US think tank based in Washington D.C.

In their report, the authors model possible scenarios for the global economy up to the year 2050. To do this, the researchers use variables such as income, demographic characteristics, climate and education and calculate possible models for the future on this basis. The calculated outcome does not have to arrive automatically, but depends on many factors. "We know the world will be very different in 2050, and climate change is a major concern for the future," said co-author Charles Kenny. "But we cannot allow this to overshadow the fact that, as the economy continues to grow, almost no one will live in the desperate poverty that has been the lot of the vast majority of the population for most of history. Although this poverty has existed for decades could have been exterminated."

Scientific models are subject to certain fluctuations and are not always accurate, especially with regard to the climate crisis. However, the authors also include variables here that are intended to make the models as accurate as possible. According to the forecast, the proportion of people living in extreme poverty could drop to two percent in 2050. This would have a particularly positive effect on the African continent, where 29 percent of people currently have to live on less than US$ 2.15 a day. There it could be about seven percent by 2050, according to the authors. In addition, the researchers predict slower growth for high-income countries, but twice as high growth for low- and middle-income countries.

In fact, society could be further along. But the corona pandemic in particular has set back the efforts of the global community by more than four years, according to a report by the United Nations (UN) from 2022. For the first time in two decades, poverty among the working population has increased again, and more people are again living in extreme poverty poverty than previously forecast.

In 2015, the UN set itself 17 goals for sustainable development with the 2030 Development Agenda. This includes the complete end of extreme poverty. But in its latest report, the UN has to state that it is treading water or has been thrown back years in some cases. Mainly due to the failure to combat the climate crisis, the Covid pandemic and other conflicts such as the war in Ukraine: "Each of these crises and their complex interactions affect all goals and lead to subsequent crises in the areas of food and nutrition, health, Education, Environment, and Peace and Security Putting the world on the path to sustainability requires concerted action at the global level.

Even if the assumptions of the study authors are correct and the economy in low-income countries grows strongly enough, the international community will miss its goal of eradicating global poverty by decades.

Source: Center For Global Development, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Development Initiatives, United Nations