These Are the Records That Countries Broke in 2019

Sintia Radu

2019, in Figures, for Countries

This year has been full of records for countries, both positive and negative. It was marked by changes in international policies, trade wars between super powers, broken alliances and technology advancements bringing new and more complex problems for mankind to solve.

The World Bank centralized some of the most important figures of this year, looking at climate change, economic inequality, refugees, species threatened with extinction or the global economy. Here are some of the main records that countries established in 2019.

15 Countries Lifted 800 Million Out of Poverty

Figures from the World Bank in 2019 show that Tanzania, Tajikistan, the Republic of Congo, Chad, Kyrgyzstan, China, India, Moldova, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burkina Faso, Indonesia, Vietnam, Ethiopia, Pakistan and Namibia managed to improve their poverty levels from 2000 to 2015.

MORE: Countries Seen to Have Rising Economies

85% of the World's Poor Are in Asia and Africa

Half of the world's 736 million extremely poor people live in just five countries: India, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh.

MORE: Africa to Lead World in Population Growth

Service Sector Reaches a Record Number of Jobs

The service sector became the world's largest employer in the early 2000s and now accounts for 49% of all jobs globally, the World Bank says. The share of people employed in services represents 26% of the workforce in low-income countries and up to 75% in high-income countries.

MORE: 10 Countries Seen to Be the Most Economically Stable

March for Climate Change Exceeds Expectations

About half a million people marched in Madrid during the United Nations Climate Change Conference for demands related to urgent climate action. Many other protests took place around the world calling for a change in prices for energy, transport and food.

MORE: Countries Seen to Offer Green Living

Record Number of Species are Threatened with Extinction

Figures in 2019 show that about a million plant and animal species out of an estimated 8 million face extinction, some in the coming decades. On the list: cycads, conifers, amphibians, dicots such as roses, corals, mammals, sharks & rays, crustaceans, ferns & relatives, monocots such as daffodils, reptiles, birds, dragonflies, bony fishes or gastropods such as snails.

MORE: 10 Countries Seen to Care the Most About the Environment

Refugees Hit Record Levels

According to figures reported in 2019, the number of displaced people in 2018 reached 70.8 million people. About 30 million of those are refugees, 41.3 million internally displaced people, and 3.5 million asylum seekers.

MORE: U.S. Refugees Policies Are Failing, Group Warns

Internet Is Still Rare In Many Regions

The digital revolution is slowly expanding into many areas on the globe and mobile phones are becoming ubiquitous. But while internet use is also increasing, access to fixed broadband is still scarce in sub-Saharan Africa, where only 31% of people can access it.

MORE: Countries Seen to Offer the Best Digital Quality of Life

More People Have Electricity

A record of about 89% of the global population now have access to electricity. The most progress has been made in South Asia and Africa, in countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya, and Myanmar.

MORE: South Africa's Energy Crisis Fuels Skepticism

Remittances a Vital Part of the Global Economy

According to the World Development Index, workers sent back three times more money to their home economies than what those nations received in official aid since the mid 1990s. In 2019, it is estimated that remittances will have reached $551 billion in low- and middle-income countries.

MORE: The Countries Seen to Be Best for Immigrants

Record Number of Measles Cases

According to the World Health Organization, in 2019 measles tripled compared with the same period last year. As of Nov. 5, 2019, 413,308 were reported as having been suffering from measles. An additional 250,000 reported cases were reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MORE: Countries Finding Success in Treating Childhood Cancer

2019 in Figures

1. 15 countries lift 800 million out of poverty.

2. 85% of the world's poor are in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

3. Service sector reaches a record number of jobs.

4. Climate change march tops expectations.

5. Record number of species are threatened with extinction.

6. Refugees hit record levels.

7. Internet remains a rare sight in many regions.

8. More people have electricity.

9. Remittances became a vital part of the global economy.

10. Number of measles cases hits record.

Want to Know More?

The 2019 U.S. News Best Countries rankings, formed in partnership with BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R, and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, aim to gauge global perceptions of the world's largest economies.

Find out how your country did in the 2019 Best Countries rankings and explore more news, data and analysis on U.S. News.


Sintia Radu is an international affairs and global technology reporter at U.S. News & World Report. She previously reported on business and technology for the Washington Post and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She served as the managing editor for Esquire Romania. She graduated from the Bucharest Academy of Economic Studies, and earned her Master of Arts in Journalism at the University of Missouri. She is a fellow of the National Press Foundation for a program on the impact of artificial intelligence. She was part of the 2016 Women in STEM cohort at Chicago's 1871 technology and entrepreneurship center, and helped design a multiple award-winning iOS/watchOS app profiled in the 2017 Associated Press report on The Future of Augmented Journalism. She is a Fulbright scholarship recipient and gave a TEDx talk on immigration and diversity. Follow her on Twitter, connect with her on LinkedIn, or email her at sradu@usnews.com.