Economic growth alone does not reduce poverty

Over the last twenty years the group of countries with medium and acceptable values on the one hand, and the group of countries with low, very low and critical values on the other, inverted their positions in the sense that the former increased from 40% to 61% of all countries for which the BCI can be calculated, and the latter fell from 60% to 39% of all countries considered. In both groups the big fall in the number of countries in the worst situation and the increase in the number of countries with relatively better levels came about before 2000, and in the new millennium change has been slower.

In the light of the recent evolution in BCI values it is clear that extreme poverty, measured in terms of access to a pool of services that are basic to human survival, will continue to decrease over time, but the speed of poverty reduction is not automatically determined by the economy. Per capita income growth accelerated from 17% in 1990-2000 to 19% between 2000 and 2009, but BCI growth slowed from 4% in the 1990s to 3% in the first decade of this century. This indicates that the Millennium Declaration and the international community’s efforts to reach the goals it set have not translated into more rapid progress in social indicators, even when resources were available. On the contrary, the data confirm the findings of recent research, which show that since 2000 progress in these indicators has become slower.