Extreme global poverty has declined 75 percent since 1990. Despite this amazing progress, 92 percent of Americans surveyed believe global poverty has either stayed the same or increased.

Americans are not alone in their ignorance; 92 percent of Germans are also unaware of the poverty drop, according to a Global Poverty Survey.

Perhaps one of the reasons is that Americans are misled by uninformed media pundits, activist college professors, and power-hungry politicians. Their strong left-wing bias often casts big-government solutions as the savior to downtrodden Americans.

The truth is that freedom from government control has led to prosperity. Extreme poverty and economic oppression by brutal dictators and regimes was the norm for most of human history. This all changed in the 1800s during the American Industrial Revolution. The transformation was led by the United States, where private property rights incentivized innovation, spurring massive economic productivity that created new jobs and ultimately lifted millions out of poverty.

The global wealth boom that resulted is hard to comprehend. Humanity has produced more economic output over the previous two hundred years than in all previous centuries combined.

In 1820, more than 90 percent of the world’s 1 billion population lived on less than $2 per day, after adjusting for inflation in today’s dollars. In 2015, less than 10 percent of the now 7.5 billion global population lived on less than $1.90 per day.

After the global population exploded from 1 billion to 7.5 billion, there were 300 million fewer people in extreme poverty. More than 6.5 billion people—many of whom did not previously exist—lived above the poverty line, earning more than almost anyone else in all of human history.

Extreme global poverty continues to decline rapidly; it has dropped a staggering 75 percent since 1990.

While there will always be suffering and those in need, the facts must be looked at in context. And with 92 percent of Americans unaware of a 75 percent drop in global poverty, context is needed more than ever before.

We often hear American politicians complain about “income inequality” and poverty.  But when compared to the global poverty line, nearly all Americans are well-off. An American worker who earns only $25,000 per year is in the top 50 percent of U.S. income earners, yet an American worker who earns $30,000 per year ranks in the top 1.23 percent of income earners globally.

According to the federal government, the average American wage in 2018 was $52,100, placing the “average Joe” in the top 0.28 percent globally. Not too shabby.

Simply by reading this article, you’re now better informed than at least 92 percent of Americans, including the vast majority of college “educated” graduates.

Perhaps college students are not getting their money’s worth?

Ross Kecseg

Ross Kecseg was the president of Texas Scorecard. He passed away in 2020. A native North Texan, he was raised in Denton County. Ross studied Economics at Arizona State University with an emphasis on Public Policy and U.S. Constitutional history. Ross was an avid golfer, automotive enthusiast, and movie/music junkie. He was a loving husband and father.


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