A new report from the secretary-general of the United Nations provides a baseline account of how the world is progressing on a set of key, country-level performance indicators for global progress. All 193 U.N. member states have adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which span topics such as inequality and climate change, regardless of an individual country's level of economic development.
Gallup, on behalf of its clients at the World Bank and the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), collects data through its World Poll on the topics of financial inclusion and food insecurity that the two organizations use to inform SDG indicators 8.10.2 and 2.1.2, respectively. Through its World Poll, launched more than a decade ago, Gallup conducts nationally representative annual surveys in a minimum of 140 countries that represent more than 99% of the world's adult population.
The World Poll provides an annual snapshot into the condition of the world's people. Gallup's data can be disaggregated by demographics such as race, gender, age and geographic location -- helping to meet the U.N.'s desire for a measurement framework that ensures no one gets left behind.
Some of the key findings in the report:
More than 790 million people worldwide suffer from hunger.
Through the "Voices of the Hungry," a collaborative project between Gallup and the FAO, Gallup supports FAO's monitoring of global progress toward the goal to "end hunger (and) achieve food security." The data highlight the distance yet to be traveled to meet these goals. The project reveals that across all world regions, sub-Saharan Africa has the highest levels of food insecurity. In that region, more than half of adults experience moderate or severe food insecurity, with one in four facing severe levels. In southern Asia -- the second-most-prevalent region for food insecurity -- about one in four adults face moderate or severe food insecurity, with 12% facing severe levels.
Two billion people don't have bank accounts.
The World Bank's FINDEX project, which also leverages the Gallup World Poll team's expertise and global data collection, is now approaching its third cycle of data collection. Since the project's inception in 2011, there has been steady international progress. The share of adults with bank accounts rose from 51% to 62% between 2011 and 2014.
When the data are disaggregated, a more detailed picture emerges of the 2 billion adults who still do not have an account with a financial institution or mobile money service. The key finding is that women and the poor are disproportionately affected. The proportion of account holders among women is seven percentage points lower than the proportion among men. Further, among the poorest 40% of households, the percentage of account holders is 14 points lower than among those living in the richest 60% of households.