Americans Don’t Know Global Poverty Has Declined

Americans are missing out on one of the greatest stories in the history of mankind:

According to a recent Barna Group survey…more than eight in 10 Americans (84%) are unaware global poverty has  [decreased by more than half in the past 30 years]. More than two-thirds (67%) say they thought global poverty was on the rise over the past three decades.

Similarly, while both child deaths and deaths caused by HIV/AIDS have decreased worldwide, many Americans wrongly think these numbers are on the rise: 50% of US adults believe child deaths have increased since 1990, and 35% believe deaths from HIV/AIDS have increased in the past five years.

Despite the very real good news, more than two-thirds of US adults (68%) say they do not believe it’s possible to end extreme global poverty within the next 25 years. Sadly, concern about extreme global poverty—defined in this study as the estimated 1.4 billion people in countries outside the US who do not have access to clean water, enough food, sufficient clothing and shelter, or basic medicine like antibiotics—has declined from 21% in 2011 to 16% in 2013.

It turns out that practicing Christians are more likely to believe it’s possible to end extreme global poverty in the next 25 years: “Practicing Christians under 40 are the most optimistic at nearly half (48%), with practicing Christians over 40 slightly higher than the general population (37%) compared to 32% of all adults).” But people are hesitant to give more for reasons ranging from belief in the inevitability of poverty’s existence to distrust in corrupt foreign governments. 1

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