Washington: The percentage of people living in extreme poverty declined from 52 percent in 1981 to 22 percent in 2008 thanks to strong economic growth in the emerging markets of India, Brazil and China, according to a new report.

This means that the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty in half by 2015 has already been met, US think tank Hudson Institute's Centre for Global Prosperity's (CGP) annual Index of Global Philanthropy and Remittances noted citing a World Bank report.

A spill-over effect into economies in Africa and South America, investment in emerging markets as growth stagnated in western economies and high export commodity prices have also helped blunt the effects of the recession in developing countries, it said.

The 2012 Index also shows: The single largest recipient of US remittances was Mexico, which received an estimated USD 22.2 billion in 2010, a USD 2 billion increase from the previous year. Following Mexico are China, India, and the Philippines, with USD 12.2 billion, USD 12.0 billion, and USD 10.1 billion, respectively. While remittances to China and India increased from 2010, remittances to the Philippines saw a slight decline.

However, while remittances overall have increased, because the currencies of several large remittance recipient countries, including Mexico, India and the Philippines, have appreciated relative to the US dollar at the same time that inflation is increasing, migrants have to send more money home to maintain recipients' purchasing power.

In 2010, the most recent year for which data are available, philanthropy and remittances from the developed to the developing world were nearly twice as much as government aid (USD 246 vs. USD 128 billion). While total government aid grew to one of its highest levels of USD 128 billion, it accounts for only 18 percent of total financial flows and continues to be a minority shareholder in international assistance efforts.