Washington, Oct 10: The number of extremely poor people has sharply declined around the world, but with the exception of India and China, the poor in 2010 were as bad off as they were in 1981, according to a new World Bank report.
While the reduction in poverty has moved significantly over the last three decades in middle-income countries such as China and India, low-income countries showed much slower progress, said the analysis released Thursday, underscoring the difficulty of reaching the goal to end poverty by 2030.
The “average” poor person in a low-income country lived on 78 cents a day in 2010, compared to 74 cents a day in 1981. But in India, the average income of the poor rose to 96 cents in 2010, compared to 84 cents in 1981, while in China, the average poor income rose to 95 cents, compared to 67 cents.
The report found that 721 million fewer people lived in extreme poverty in 2010 – defined as under $1.25 a day – compared to 1981, but it still included roughly 400 million children.
Children accounted for one in three of those living in extreme poverty around the world in 2010, compared with only one in five of those living above the poverty line.
In low-income countries, the percentages were even worse, with half of all children living in extreme poverty.
While extreme poverty rates have declined in all regions, the world’s 35 low-income countries – 26 of which are in Africa – registered 100 million more extremely poor people today than three decades ago.
In 2010, 33 percent of the extreme poor lived in low-income countries, compared to 13 percent in 1981.
“The finding that over 400 million children live in extreme poverty and children are more likely to be poor than adults is disturbing, since this can exacerbate child labour and create inter-generational poverty traps,” said World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Kaushik Basu.
“Hence, if we want to make a sustainable dent on global poverty, this is where we need to focus our attention.”
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)