Poverty within America...
...has declined by 90% since 1960
In my previous post we saw how the majority of income gains in recent decades have been made by middle-income countries. However, there is some pretty great news for developed countries too, and today’s graph is one example of that.
There are many different ways to measure poverty, but perhaps the most accurate one is to measure the percentage of people unable to reach a certain standard of living in terms of things like food security, home appliances, clothing, healthcare and other necessities. This is known as ‘consumption poverty’.
Looking at things that way, you can that in America since the 1960s (often seen as a ‘golden age’), the proportion of people that would be considered poor has dropped from 30% to just 3%. That’s an incredible change, and is thanks to three main factors:
Increases in income (as we’ve seen) both individually and in the US as a whole
Improvements in technology, which mean that every dollar buys more than before
Improvements in social care programs such as medicare
While the lives of the rich in rich countries have got better in the same period, they haven’t improved as much as those of the poor. As Stephen Pinker puts it, “the most precious resources of all—time, freedom, and worthy experiences—are rising across the board,” which is something to be cheerful about.
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Source: Enlightenment Now, Stephen Pinker