The 2010s may be remembered as the decade when the global 1% accumulated unfathomable wealth, but it was also the best decade ever for the world's poorest people, Axios World editor Dave Lawler reports.
- The rate of extreme poverty around the world was cut in half over the past decade (15.7% in 2010 to 7.7% now), and all but eradicated in China.
A tipping point was reached in 2018, according to a Brookings analysis, with more than half the world in the middle class or above for the first time in history.
- Along with that came massive declines in mortality rates for women and infants, both of which have been halved since 1990.
- Meanwhile, primary education has become near-universal in nearly all of the world, including for girls. The global youth literacy rate was up to 91% as of 2016, though sub-Saharan Africa (75%) lags behind.
- The average income of the world’s bottom 50% of earners nearly doubled between 1980 and 2016, according to Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, MIT professors and the 2019 Nobel laureates in economics.
There was only one group that fared better over that time, Banerjee and Duflo write in Foreign Affairs — the global 1%:
- "The rich in already rich countries plus an increasing number of superrich in the developing world ... captured an astounding 27% of global growth."
- As the global 1% captured more and more of the pie, Banerjee and Duflo write, "The 49% of people below them, which includes almost everybody in the United States and Europe, lost out, and their incomes stagnated."
Forbes' billionaire lists from the past decade tell much of the story:
- In 2009, the world had 793 billionaires with a combined wealth of $2.4 trillion.
- As of 2019, the world had 2,153 billionaires with a total net worth of $8.7 trillion.
- To qualify as one of the world’s 100 richest people, you’d now need not $4.9 billion, as was the case a decade ago, but $14.4 billion.
- There were 130 billionaires in Asia a decade ago. Now there are 729.
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