Around the world, the number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015. But the pace of change is slowing down, and the COVID-19 crisis increases the risk of undoing decades of progress in battling poverty.
The economic fallout from the pandemic could increase global poverty by as much as half a billion people, or 8 percent of the total human population. It would be the first time since 1990 that poverty would increase globally. The sustainable development goals still aim to eliminate extreme poverty by 2030.
Over 700 million people still live in extreme poverty today – struggling to fulfil the most basic needs like health, education, and access to water and sanitation. The majority of people living on less than $1.90 a day live in sub-Saharan Africa. The poverty rate in rural areas is over 17 percent, more than three times as high as in urban areas.
For those who are employed, having a job does not mean they earn a decent living. In 2018, 8 percent of employed workers and their families lived in extreme poverty. One out of five children live in extreme poverty. Social protection for children and other vulnerable groups is critical to combat poverty.