Over 1 billion people are still living in extreme poverty, says World Bank

18 Apr 13
The proportion of the global population living in extreme poverty has fallen ‘considerably’ over the past three decades but there are still 1.2 billion people surviving on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank.

By | 18 April 2013

The proportion of the global population living in extreme poverty has fallen ‘considerably’ over the past three decades but there are still 1.2 billion people surviving on less than $1.25 a day, according to the World Bank.

by the Bank, published yesterday, showed that the population of the developing world rose by 59% between 1981 and 2010. Despite this, the percentage of that population living in extreme poverty fell from 50% to 21%, and the number of people fell by over a third from 1.9 billion.

World Bank president Jim Yong Kim said: ‘We have made remarkable progress in reducing the number of people living under $1.25 a day in the developing world, but the fact that there are still 1.2 billion people in extreme poverty is a stain on our collective conscience.

‘This figure should serve as a rallying cry to the international community to take the fight against poverty to the next level.’

Extreme poverty rates have fallen in every developing region over the past 30 years, with particular improvements in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean since the turn of the millennium.

In Latin America and the Caribbean, the extreme poverty rate remained at around 12% for the last 20 years of the twentieth century, but had since halved to 6%.

In Sub-Sahara Africa, the proportion of the population living on less than $1.25 a day increased from 51% in 1981 to 58% in 1999 but by 2010 had fallen to 48%. Despite this, the actual number of people living in extreme poverty increased steadily between 1981 and 2010, the only region where this has happened. There are now 414 million people in the region in this situation compared to 205 million in 1981.

Consequently, Sub-Saharan Africa’s extreme poor account for more than a third of the world’s total, compared with 11% in 1981. India is home to another third of the total and China contributes 13%.

While the average income of the extreme poor worldwide has risen towards the $1.25 a day poverty line, up from 74 cents in 1981 to 87 cents per person per day in 2010, in Sub-Saharan Africa has largely remained flat at around half the $1.25 poverty line. 

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