Relentless pursuit of an equitable world

The Optimist

Landscape with mountains and river valley

Data show why we must be cautiously optimistic about reaching the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal

Our World in Data project director Max Roser presented his research on large global trends to the United Nation’s Executive Committee, this July. He found significant advances were made globally, but that progress is not inevitable.

The data show that the share of the world population in extreme poverty decreased from almost everyone two centuries ago to below 10 percent today. Furthermore, in 1800, 43 percent of the world's population died as young children, compared with a ten-fold decrease today, to below 5 percent. However, 11 children still die every minute today, which means we are not making progress at the rate we would need to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) we set for 2030.

Our World in Data: World population living in extreme poverty

While the world is moving in the right direction, we’re not getting there fast enough, posits Roser.

To gain momentum around the goals set, it’s imperative that we learn from the data we have to strategize how we overcome the challenges we still face. He points to significant trends where globally, people are in better health, fewer live in poverty and are better educated. However, achieving the SDGs would mean that yet another two million children will not die in 2030. With the advancements the world has made to date, we are in a strong position to work on the big problems collectively.

Find out more here.

Our World in Data has also launched a new initiative ‘SDG Tracker‘ to track progress towards SDGs.

About the Author

Ruchika Tulshyan
Ruchika Tulshyan is an author, educator, and journalist. Her writing has appeared in publications including Harvard Business Review, Forbes, and The Seattle Times.

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