50% Fewer Live in Extreme Poverty…and….

Five years before the 2015 deadline, the world has achieved one of the Millennium Development Goals to reduce extreme poverty by half.

Check out the New York Times article on March 6, 2012:

Dire Poverty Falls Despite Global Slump

Definitely this is a huge achievement to be celebrated!!  And a word of caution comes from the Trickle Up President Bill Abrams. One caveat is how we understand and define poverty. The gross numbers for poverty have fallen, but the numbers of the ultra-poor (living on $1.25/day or less) haven’t improved all that much.

Why would that be? Abrams describes the majority of the ultra-poor as female, rural, and mobile. They are, he implies, often invisible to government poverty programs and NGOs.

I’m always curious about the stories statistics tell, and how, in development, they can reveal but also sometimes obscure the matters at hand.

Are there echelons of poor who are not being helped? What do we know about them? How are the needs of ultra-poor different from not-as-poor and how do programs need to change to fill that gap?

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