U.N. Report Presents a Richer View of Poverty

What does it mean to be poor in 2010? In monetary terms, the number of people living below the official extreme-poverty threshold of $1.25 per day in developing nations has declined. In fact, according to the World Bank’s benchmarks, the extreme poverty rate worldwide has tumbled from about 50 percent in 1981 to about 25 percent in 2005.

So are we just half as miserable as we were a generation ago? A new United Nations study takes stock of the human condition today and finds that poverty runs deeper than ever.

Rethinking Poverty: Report on the World Social Situation 2010, published by the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, assesses poverty by examining the social and environmental factors that divide the haves and have notes. The authors argue that shaping a more just economy means redefining the spectrum of rich and poor.

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