Reasons for the Variable Progress towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals

A progress report on five Millennium Development Goal targets.
A progress report on five Millennium Development Goal targets. | Source

The abundance of yellow dots implies that reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is not treated as a priority in many countries. Many regions have more pressing issues, namely war, and others, such as Sub-Saharan Africa, still do not possess sufficient funds to improve the quality of life for their populations.

The global financial crisis of 2008 likely held progress back, as more economically developed countries (MEDCs) struggled to find enough revenue to focus on giving foreign aid. However, in the early 2000s, low oil prices massively boosted the development of countries with a large reliance on imported oil, such as India; India also has one of the largest impoverished populations, and even a small increase in public service spending as a percentage of the government's total budget has the potential to lift millions of people out of poverty in the poorest regions, such as Uttar Pradesh.

The continued growth of China's economy has supported development throughout eastern Asia; China's ageing population means a reduced agricultural workforce, hence the risk of increased hunger. In contrast to this, India's population is continuing to grow rapidly, and due to the relative lack of urbanisation in India, villages in rural areas receive minimal assistance in feeding more people, even during the recent droughts, which have reduced southern Asia's food supply, hence the black dot.

Latin America has made the most progress in reducing its infant mortality rate (IMR); this could be due to both increased government spending, as the previously high IMR was seen as a major problem, restricting economic growth and social development, and new technologies, which can easily be distributed to the large population.

All statistics concerning improving development must be taken with a sceptical attitude; many governments may make alterations to the methods of measurement to manipulate results. For example, the Indian government officially considers people with a daily income of less than 33 (£0.37) rupees in urban areas and 27 (£0.30) rupees in rural areas to be below the poverty line; this is usually not enough for two meals. More recent estimates put the poverty line at 47 rupees in urban areas and 32 rupees in rural areas, effectively lifting around 94 million people out of poverty.

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