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Why poverty misconceptions in America may hurt poverty reduction efforts

Americans misconception on global poverty
Americans misconception on global poverty

Poverty has been around since the dawn of civilization. Perhaps this is the reason why many believe it is the inevitable fate people face in a current capitalistic world. Many are jaded by the rampant corruption displayed by predatory states over decades, and believe there is no hope for the impoverished around the world. Would these same people believe that since the 1980s extreme poverty has decreased by half?

In a recent survey done by Barnard Group, it was found that 84 percent of Americans were unaware that global poverty has reduced over time, and 67 percent Americans believed that global poverty was on the rise. This study clearly shows the misinformation people in the United States are receiving. This negative ideology can greatly affect how people see charities and poverty reduction organizations and the success some of these organizations may have.

Due to the lack of knowledge in the reduction of extreme poverty, American's concern for poverty issues has decreased from 21 percent to 16 percent. As confidence in poverty reduction decreases, efforts to mobilize people and resources becomes increasingly difficult. This is bad news for charitable organization who look to the American people for support.

It is important to acknowledge the progress made in reducing extreme poverty around the world. For example, since the 1900s poverty rates in East Asia and the Pacific have been cut in half, according to the World Bank. Eradicating extreme poverty is an attainable goal in this generation, however it is also imperative that we acknowledge that the definition of poverty is changing. Global inequality is more prevalent than ever and still on the rise. Currently the wealthiest 85 individuals hold more wealth than the poorest three billion. This widening gap between the rich and poor is a crucial challenge we face in reducing poverty, as it is projected that through to 2015 there will be 1.1 billion living on less that $2 a day.