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Less poverty in Asia, more in Africa

Cur­rently, 9% of the world pop­u­la­tion, more than 650 mil­lion people, live in ex­treme poverty. In 2015, the UN ad­op­ted the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, which aims to end poverty around the globe. WU Pro­fessor Je­sus Crespo Cuaresma and his team are in­vest­ig­at­ing whether this goal can be achieved. To­gether with the World Data Lab, a Vi­en­na-­based NGO for data ana­lysis, Cuaresma has developed a new tool that visu­al­izes coun­try-spe­cific de­tails about poverty dy­nam­ics: The World Poverty Clock was in­tro­duced today in Ber­lin at re:pub­lica 17, one of the largest con­fer­ences about di­gital cul­ture in the world.

Un­der which con­di­tions could poverty be erad­ic­ated world­wide by the year 2030? Which coun­tries are on track to sig­ni­fic­antly re­duce their poverty rates in the com­ing dec­ades? To answer these ques­tions, Je­sus Crespo Cuaresma, head of WU’s In­sti­tute for Mac­roe­co­nom­ics, and his team developed stat­ist­ical mod­els that com­bine cur­rent demo­graphic trends, global in­come per cap­ita pro­jec­tions, and long-term in­come trends for the world economy to fore­cast global poverty devel­op­ments. To­gether with World Data Lab, the re­search­ers designed the World Poverty Clock, a tool for visu­al­iz­ing these pro­jec­tions. This in­ter­act­ive tool visu­al­izes poverty pro­jec­tions for in­di­vidual coun­tries up until the year 2030.

Poverty go­ing down in In­dia, up in Ni­geria

People are con­sidered to be liv­ing in ex­treme poverty if they have to sur­vive on less than $ 1.90 (€ 1.75) per day. The WU re­search­ers’ pro­jec­tions in­dic­ate that the ex­tra­pol­a­tion of cur­rent demo­graphic and in­come trends for the world economy are ex­pec­ted to re­duce poverty to around 485 mil­lion per­sons ( 25.4%) by 2030. The pro­jec­tions show con­sid­er­able dif­fer­ences around the globe: While 77 people are es­cap­ing poverty in Asia every minute, on aver­age 12 people are fall­ing into poverty every minute in Africa. By 2030, Ni­geria and the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo are ex­pec­ted to be the coun­tries with the highest num­bers of people liv­ing in poverty. Ni­geria is ex­pec­ted to have 90 mil­lion poor people in 2030, and the Demo­cratic Re­pub­lic of the Congo 64 mil­lion. Cur­rently, In­dia is the coun­try with the highest num­ber of poor people in the world. However, In­dia’s cur­rent eco­nomic growth rates give reason to ex­pect a sharp de­cline in poverty: As of Janu­ary, ap­prox­im­ately 8.2% of the In­dian pop­u­la­tion, some 110 mil­lion people, were con­sidered to live in ex­treme poverty. This fig­ure is ex­pec­ted to drop to below 10 mil­lion by 2025. Now, for the first time, all of these pro­jec­tions and devel­op­ments can be visu­al­ized us­ing the World Poverty Clock. “The World Poverty Clock is a ma­jor step ahead for mon­it­or­ing the devel­op­ment of poverty around the globe. It also makes it easier to es­tim­ate the ef­fects of eco­nomic policy de­cisions on global poverty. The pro­jec­tions upon which the World Poverty Clock is based are up­dated and ad­ap­ted on a con­tinu­ous basis,” ex­plains Je­sus Crespo Cuaresma. “Without fur­ther in­ter­ven­tions like those described in the Agenda for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment, 485 mil­lion people will still be liv­ing in ex­treme poverty in 2030. Our tool shows clearly which coun­tries need to act the most.”

In­ter­act­ive data visu­al­iz­a­tion

For the World Poverty Clock, econom­ist Crespo Cuaresma and his team at WU and the World Data Lab developed mod­els based on cur­rent pop­u­la­tion pro­jec­tions by age and edu­ca­tion level and com­bined them with the per cap­ita in­come devel­op­ment stat­ist­ics of each coun­try. The World Data Lab was re­spons­ible for the tech­nical im­ple­ment­a­tion. The tool al­lows scient­ists to com­pute the speed of poverty re­duc­tion in each coun­try and com­pare it with the aver­age speed needed to meet sus­tain­able devel­op­ment goals. The World Poverty Clock also of­fers com­pre­hens­ive ad­di­tional in­form­a­tion about the in­di­vidual coun­tries mon­itored. The pro­ject, which was presen­ted today at re:pub­lica 2017, one of the largest con­fer­ences about di­gital cul­ture in the world, was fun­ded by the Ger­man Fed­eral Min­istry for Eco­nomic Co­oper­a­tion and Devel­op­ment.

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Mag. Anna Maria Schwendinger
Tel: + 43-1-31336-5478
E-­Mail: anna.schwendinger­

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