For the first time ever, the poverty level in each region of the world has fallen. According to the World Bank’s Development Research Group, the number of people living on less than $1.25 per day (at 2005 prices) was less in 2008 than it was in 2005. This report suggests that the biggest contributing region to the decline in poverty is Africa – its poverty level fell by five percentage points between 2005 and 2008.
The bank also has partial estimates for 2010. These show global poverty that year was half its 1990 level, implying the long-term rate of poverty reduction—slightly over one percentage point a year—continued unabated in 2008-10, despite the dual crisis.
The graphic below shows the data from 1981-2008: click on it to read the whole article at the Economist.