9 Things You Should Know About Global Poverty

The Gospel Coalition | 10/19/2019 | Joe Carter
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On Monday a trio of American economists—Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, and Michael Kremer—won the Nobel Prize in economics for “their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty.” As the Nobel Committee says, “The research conducted by this year’s Laureates has considerably improved our ability to fight global poverty. In just two decades, their new experiment-based approach has transformed development economics, which is now a flourishing field of research.” The Committee also claims the work of these economists has “great potential to further improve the lives of the worst-off people around the world.”

In honor of their achievement, which has, as the Committee claims, “great potential to further improve the lives of the worst-off people around the world,” here are nine things you should know about global poverty.

Poverty - Standards - Income - Levels - Access

1. Poverty is most commonly defined by economic standards, based on income levels and access to basic human necessities, such as food, water, and shelter. Global poverty refers to the various levels of poverty across the globe. Because poverty differs significantly between poor and wealthier countries, it is often broken down into the two main classifications of absolute and relative.

2. Absolute poverty is a condition characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education, and information. It depends not only on income but also on access to services. Most countries in the world measure their poverty using an absolute threshold. Absolute poverty is often described with a scale, ranging from extreme to moderate levels. Extreme poverty was defined in 1991 as the “dollar-a-day line.” In 1993, the line changed to $1.08 per day, and was revised again in 2005 to $1.25. Currently, since 2015, the international poverty line has been set at $1.90 a day. The increase reflects the purchasing power at a specific time and makes...
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