WDI 2012World Development Indicators 2012 is now available in print, online, and on mobile devices. The 16th edition of World Development Indicators publication and database update contains updated data through 2010 and 2011 for many indicators. This update contains:

  • more recent data on poverty at international poverty lines for more countries, including global and regional estimates
  • measures of malnutrition disaggregated by sex
  • health indicators disaggregated by income quintile
  • data on carbon dioxide emissions by economic sector
  • data on climate variability, exposure to impact, and resilience

Highlights from World Development Indicators 2012 are presented using our latest widgets. Click on any of the charts to customize and save your own versions to share and discuss online and to embed in your blogs, web sites, and popular social media sites. For a global review of development progress, see the introduction to the World View section of World Development Indicators 2012. And for a region by region look at selected development topics, see our regional highlights booklet.

Poverty and hunger remain, but fewer people live in extreme poverty

The proportion of people living on less than $1.25 a day fell from 43.1 percent in 1990 to 22.2 percent in 2008. While the food, fuel, and financial crises over the past four years have worsened the situation of vulnerable populations and slowed poverty reduction in some countries, global poverty rates have continued to fall. Between 2005 and 2008 both the poverty rate and the number of people living in extreme poverty fell in all six developing country regions, the first time that has happened. Preliminary estimates for 2010 show that the extreme poverty rate fell further, reaching the global target of the Millennium Development Goals of halving world poverty five years early.

World GDP rebounded in 2010

In 2010 the world economy grew 4.2 percent, a quick rebound from 2.3 percent in 2009 and well above the annual average of 2.9 percent since 2000. Total output measured in GDP at current prices increased more than $10 trillion. Upper middle-income economies, including China, were affected by slowing investment and widespread uncertainty in financial markets but still grew 7.8 percent. Lower middle-income economies grew 6.9 percent, and low-income economies grew 5.9 percent. High-income economies, accounting for 68 percent of the world’s GDP, grew 3.1 percent in 2010. Developing economies grew faster over the last decade than in the previous two and faster than high-income economies. World output in 2010 reached $63 trillion, measured in GDP at current prices—a nominal increase of 96 percent increase over 2000. Developing economies’ share of global output increased from 18 percent to 31 percent. The developing economies in East Asia and Pacific grew the most, quadrupling their output and more than doubling their share of global output from 5 percent to 12 percent.

Population growing fastest in Sub-Saharan Africa, slowest in Europe and Central Asia

World population has grown by 1.2 percent per year between 2000 and 2010. Developing countries in the Sub-Saharan Africa have grown the fastest, averaging 2.5 percent per year. The slowest growing developing region is Europe and Central Asia, averaging 0.2 percent growth per year.

Mortality rates are falling in every region

Mortality rates have been falling everywhere. In developing countries the mortality rate fell from an average of 98 per 1,000 live births in 1990 to 63 in 2010. But rates remain much higher in many countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa and parts of South Asia. In Sub-Saharan Africa one child in eight dies before his or her fifth birthday. The odds are somewhat better in South Asia, where 1 child in 15 dies. But even in these regions there are countries exhibiting rapid progress.

Millions of people still afflicted with HIV/AIDS

In 2009, 31–33 million people were living with HIV/AIDS, and approximately 1.5 million of them were under age 15. Another 16.9 million children, 14.8 million of them in Sub-Saharan Africa, have lost one or both parents to AIDS. By the end of 2009, 5.25 million people were receiving antiretroviral drugs, or 36 percent of the population for which the World Health Organization recommends treatment.

Girls have made substantial gains in primary and secondary school enrollment

In many countries, girls’ enrollment rates outnumber boys’, particularly in secondary school. And more girls are staying in school. In 1991 only 73 percent of girls in developing countries finished primary school; by 2010 the completion rate stood at 86 percent. But this comparison obscures the underlying problem of under enrollment. Girls are still less likely to enroll in primary school or to stay through the end of primary school. In some countries the situation changes at the secondary level. Girls who complete primary school may be more likely to stay in school, while boys drop out. In Europe and Central Asia and Latin American and the Caribbean the differences in higher education enrollment are substantial. This is an unsatisfactory path to equity. Rapid growth and poverty reduction truly require education for all.

There are more women decision makers in every region

The proportion of parliamentary seats held by women has increased everywhere. In Latin America and the Caribbean women now hold 24 percent of all parliamentary seats. The most impressive gains have been made in South Asia, where the number of seats held by women tripled between 1999 and 2010. In Sub-Saharan Africa Rwanda leads the way, making history in 2008 when it elected a parliament composed 56 percent of women. The Middle East and North Africa lags far behind.

Carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise

Annual emissions of carbon dioxide reached 32 millions of kilotons in 2008 and are still rising. High-income economies remain the largest emitters, but the rapidly growing upper middle income economies are not far behind. Measured by emissions per capita, however, emissions by high-income economies are more than three times higher than average emissions by low and middle-income economies.

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