About this Gapminder video

To live in “extreme poverty” – with less than 1 dollar a day – means you wake up hungry, you go to bed hungry and you have to use all your resources just to acquire food.

How has the Global Economy effected the income of people across the world?

Although the percentage of poverty has gone down, the number of poor people is still very high. Still, the percentage of people living in extreme poverty has gone down from around 40 percent 30 years ago to today’s number of around 20 percent.

The good news is that the eradication of poverty is within human range.

10 thoughts on “Globalization

  1. Hello Prof.,

    i am quite impressed by the software you created to show your stats in a much better way. But every time you come to wealth or poverty, you work with absolute numbers like 1 dollar. That drives me crazy, because you imply, that 1 dollar in the 70’s is the same as 1 dollar nowadays. And you tell your visitors, that these people can get out of poverty, if they pass this treshold of 1 dollar. But you could not have done any worse. You totally missed the effect of inflation. You should not choose 1 dollar as a treshold but the cost for the minimum feeding needed. The dollar inflation from 1970 to 2005 combines to 500%, factor five. That shows impressively that the poverty increases at high speed. They just can’t afford there food anymore. Never has been a greater number of fleeing people towards Europe. See Greece, Spain or Italy for proove. Take Lampedusa or Ceuta/Mellila as examples. Please take inflation into account, because without, your comparisons loose much of their credibility.

    Thanks again for all your good work,
    Ralf Kellermann. (Germany)

  2. Dear Ralf,
    Thank you for your interest in gapminder. It is a very important question you bring up.
    It is true, as you say, that what is important is what people actually can consume. Using incomes without taking inflation into account would lead to a totally misleading picture.

    Therefore, the data we used in the presentation have all been adjusted for inflation. All income-data is expressed in so-called fixed prices, in fixed 1999 prices to be more precise. Hence, “one dollar” in the presentation corresponds to the amount of goods and services a dollar could buy in 1999.

    Furthermore, the data has also been adjusted for differences in the purchasing powers between different countries, with the help of so-called Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs).
    If you want to know more details about how the data was calculated you can read the source used in the presentation (a background paper for the Human Development Report 2005):

    Dikhanov, Yuri (2005). Trends in global income distribution, 1970-2000, and scenarios for 2015. Human Development Report Office Occasional paper

    All this being said it is important to remember that adjustments like these are very difficult. Inflation data are based on the price development for a basket of many goods and services. This basket of goods and services are not necessarily representative of what the poor consumes. The data on poverty hence has many uncertainties. On the other hand, we have other indicators of poverty, such as health, which are easier to measure. These have also shown some improvements in some parts of the world (but not in other).

    There are now more recent data on poverty and income distribution than the data used in the presentation above, “PovCalNet”. This data use more elaborate price data that are now available. You find the new poverty data at: (click here).

    Mattias Lindgren,

  3. Poverty is the root cause, the etiology of multiple disease systems that shorten life, afflict humans with malnutrition, mental depression, despair, hopelessness, physical illness, tuberculosis, malaria, too numerous to count ailments, plus high mortality and morbidity rates in all age groups. It has to be considered a disease with known pathology, a political disease, since resolution of the pathology lies with the politicians and governments as much as with physicians who treat the physical, mental and social aspects of the disease. Text books of medicine must include poverty as a disease entity. Your data broadens the horizon of disease and challenges humanity. Sadly, I do not see change in my life time.

  4. Hello Prof,
    This site and software sure are great ways to show data, but seeing this vid i couldn’t stop myself form thinking: are these data on poverty and purchase power corrected by inflation?
    I mean, one dollar in 1970 is very different and have much more purchase power than one dolla nowadays.

  5. Dear Daniel,
    Yes, the data is adjusted for inflation, see the comments above.
    Best regards,
    Mattias, Gapminder

  6. Dears,

    I think if you look at the final view of the chart, the majority of people move between 1 USD to 10 USD income. I am sorry, but I still have to consider this % as the living under the poverty line as 1-10 USD earnings a day maybe can provide means for getting a slice of bread, but that is, I think, not the moving of the poverty line forwards.


  7. Dear Prof,

    Thanks for the good work in enlighting scholars and others about the latest stats about human development. I live in Zambia where poverty levels are around 80% and HIV epidemic rates are at 14%. I would like to urge you and encourage to keep compiliing these stats so that donors become privy of thier obligation towards third world nations especially the ones grappling with HIV. Currently, with the global economic recession in progress, one keeps wondering what will happen to the millions of people on free anti retrovirals being donated to Sub Saharan Africa by the affluent nations. You have taken up the advocacy role and i can only encourage you to keep us posted with latest stats and data.

    All the best!

  8. The graphs on world poverty are well done. However, I am looking for the same type of data on the country level. Gapminder World has some great data and is also a great way to represent it, but it has no data about poverty. That is, there is no data on people living on 1 or 2 dollars a day for each country. In order to see how countries are coming out of poverty or how they are eliminating poverty, this data is needed. This assumes a commonly used definition of poverty as people living on less than 1 or 2 dollars per day. Where can I find this data?

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