Global Citizen is a community of people like you

People who want to learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges. Extreme poverty ends with you.

15 ways the world has improved since the '90s (it's not just the fashion)

It seems like every 10th article on the internet is about things people miss about the 90s. I can understand being nostalgic for old-school Nickelodeon shows, but let's not forget that the world's poor have made immeasureable progress since then.

Take a look at how far we've come since 1990:

1.) 2.3 billion people have gained access to improved sources of drinking water  

Giphy

2.) 1.9 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation as well

Giphy

3.) The number of people who must resort to open defecation dropped from 24% to 15% from 1990-2011 - raise the roof for sanitation!

Giphy

4.) In the early 1990s, India was considered hyperendemic for polio. India has just celebrated its third year in a row without a single case, after decades of work and $2 billion pledged 

Giphy

5.) Between 1999 and 2012, the reported number of new cases of the chronic form of human African trypanosomiasis, known as sleeping sickness, fell by 76%. Take that, neglected tropical diseases!

Giphy

6.) As a testament to strides made in education and women's equality, the enrollment rate of girls in sub-Saharan Africa increased from 47% to 75%

Giphy

7.) And speaking of school, literacy rates for adult women have increased 10% worldwide

Giphy

8.) The availability of family planning have improved since the 90s as well. The unmet need for contraceptives dropped from 15.4% to 12.3% 

Giphy

9.) Earlier this week the UN released information showing that maternal deaths have been reduced by 45%  

Giphy

10.) Incredibly, the worldwide mortality rate for children under 5 dropped by 41% 

Giphy

11.) By 2011 the number of underweight children dropped 36% from an estimated 159 million children in 1990

Giphy

12.) Data shows the number of chronically undernourished people decreased from 23.2% to 14.9%

Giphy

13.) Due to all of these incredible gains the global life expectancy has increased by 6 years

Giphy

14.) To sum everything up:

According to the World Bank, in 1990 43% of people in the developing world were living at or below US $1.25 a day. Today that percentage has been more than halved to 21%!

15.) That means that 1.91 billion people lived in extreme poverty in 1990 compared to 1.22 billion people today 

Giphy

We are on the cusp of being able to end extreme poverty forever. Sign the petition on the top right of this page to tell world leaders that the mistakes of the 90's should stay in the past.

Written by Michelle Kennedy