Millennium Development Goals Report 2012

Highlights

Extreme poverty is falling in every region: For the first time since poverty trends began to be monitored, the number of people living in extreme poverty and poverty rates fell in every developing region — including in sub-Saharan Africa, where rates are highest. The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 47 per cent in 1990 to 24 per cent in 2008—a reduction from over 2 billion to less than 1.4 billion.

The poverty reduction target was met: Preliminary estimates indicate that the global poverty rate at $1.25 a day fell in 2010 to less than half the 1990 rate. If these results are confirmed, the first target of the MDGs—cutting the extreme poverty rate to half its 1990 level—will have been achieved at the global level well ahead of 2015.

The world has met the target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water: The target of halving the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water was also met by 2010, with the proportion of people using an improved water source rising from 76 per cent in 1990 to 89 per cent in 2010. Between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people gained access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells.

Improvements in the lives of 200 million slum dwellers exceeded the slum target: The share of urban residents in the developing world living in slums declined from 39 per cent in 2000 to 33 per cent in 2012. More than 200 million gained access to either improved water sources, improved sanitation facilities, or durable or less crowded housing. This achievement exceeds the target of significantly improving the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, well ahead of the 2020 deadline.

The world has achieved parity in primary education between girls and boys: Driven by national and international efforts and the MDG campaign, many more of the world’s children are enrolled in school at the primary level, especially since 2000. Girls have benefited the most. The ratio between the enrolment rate of girls and that of boys grew from 91 in 1999 to 97 in 2010 for all developing regions. The gender parity index value of 97 falls within the plus-or-minus 3-point margin of 100 per cent, the accepted measure for parity.

Many countries facing the greatest challenges have made significant progress towards universal primary education: Enrolment rates of children of primary school age increased markedly in sub-Saharan Africa, from 58 to 76 per cent between 1999 and 2010. Many countries in that region succeeded in reducing their relatively high out-of-school rates even as their primary school age populations were growing.

Child survival progress is gaining momentum: Despite population growth, the number of under-five deaths worldwide fell from more than 12.0 million in 1990 to 7.6 million in 2010. And progress in the developing world as a whole has accelerated. Sub-Saharan Africa—the region with the highest level of under-five mortality—has doubled its average rate of reduction, from 1.2 per cent a year over 1990-2000 to 2.4 per cent during 2000-2010.

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