Americans Pessimistic About Ending Global Poverty, Survey Finds

Americans Pessimistic About Ending Global Poverty, Survey Finds

More than two-thirds of Americans do not believe global poverty can be eliminated within the next twenty-five years, a survey by the and finds.

According to an online survey of nearly fifteen hundred adults conducted in late 2013, concern about extreme global poverty declined from 21 percent in 2011 to 16 percent last year, while only 11 percent of respondents said it is possible to end extreme global poverty in a generation. Of those who said ending extreme poverty was impossible, 21 percent believed poverty is inevitable and will always exist, 20 percent didn't think enough people cared about the issue, 17 percent felt there is not enough of a collective global effort, 17 percent couldn't get past the enormity of the problem, and 14 percent did not trust what they consider to be corrupt governments in poor countries.

The survey also found that many respondents, including those who believe global poverty is eradicable, hesitate to donate to charities because they distrust local governments (59 percent), believe U.S. money should be spent on needs at home (55 percent), or do not know what organizations to trust with their money and time (56 percent). In 2013, 39 percent of respondents donated about $5 a month on average to nonprofits serving people in extreme poverty.

According to the survey, practicing Christians are both more optimistic about ending global poverty and more likely to give to help address the issue than non-practicing or non-Christian respondents, with 41 percent of practicing Christians saying they believe extreme poverty can be eradicated, including 48 percent of those under age 40 and 37 percent of those who are older, and 56 percent donating $13 a month on average to address the cause.

Scott Todd, senior vice president for global advocacy at Compassion International, told the that the bleak numbers can be turned around if potential donors are better informed. "The practicing Christians may not be the largest group, but if they increased their giving by just 1 percent, we’d have $25 billion more for the work of supporting the poor," said Todd. "We know people are grief-stricken by poverty, but we want them to see an opportunity to make history, to end poverty in a generation."

"." Barna Group Blog 04/29/2014. Cathy Lynn Grossman. "." Religion News Service 04/29/2014.