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Study: Poverty Levels Are Declining Throughout The World

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (CBS Detroit) - A new study indicates that the level of poverty seen throughout the world is decreasing, with Earth's poorest denizens experiencing less poverty than the lowest economic echelons of the past.

The study, offered by a human development initiative at Oxford University, also noted that some countries could even see the end of extreme poverty within 20 years, if trends continue as they have.

A report published by the United Nations last week supports the Oxford study.

"The world is witnessing a[n] epochal 'global rebalancing' with higher growth in at least 40 poor countries helping lift hundreds of millions out of poverty and into a new 'global middle class,'" the report said, according to the UK Guardian. "Never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast."

The study is encouraging to countries throughout the world, including the United States, where the number of those living in poverty had reached staggering heights just two years ago.

According to the National Poverty Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, an estimated 15.1 percent of the American populace was officially considered impoverished in 2010 - the highest poverty rate seen in the America since 1993 - when measured by federal guidelines.

"The United States determines the official poverty rate using poverty thresholds that are issued each year by the Census Bureau," the Center's official website explains of the government standards. "The thresholds represent the annual amount of cash income minimally required to support families of various sizes."

Though the study had international implications, nations such as Bangladesh and Rwanda were cited as being the most likely to witness the end of extreme poverty within a generation, with other nations such as Tanzania and Cambodia close behind, the Guardian learned.

In order to reach their conclusions, Oxford's researchers were said to have used what is referred to as the Multidimensional Poverty Index, which factors nutrition, sanitation and eight other elements into the overall scope of poverty, instead of merely examining income.

As such, well-funded and well-executed development projects that focused on improving health clinics, access to fresh water, infrastructure, schools and other public services were reportedly cited as the main reasons for the hopeful results of the study.

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