These households are very highly vulnerable and correspondingly averted to risk and are hardly credit-worthy, so that the technology they apply has to be capital-extensive. Even in some good years, but above all in the bad ones, they remain below the poverty line.

Rural World 4: Landless rural households and micro-enterprises 

In SSA, landless households are still relatively rare. Sufficient land and collective land rights allow most households to pursue agricultural activities on at least a smaller scale. This is often different in densely populated Asia, where many rural households have nothing but informal micro-enterprises or provide agricultural labour to secure their livelihoods. Their living conditions are frequently even more precarious than those in Rural World 3, and in many years they are among the poor.

Rural World 5: Chronically poor rural households

This type of household comprises in particular those without land and with hardly any labour force, those in which people are chronically ill or disabled, orphan households as well as a considerable share of micro-farmers in unfavourable locations or locations where land is very limited.

The Five Rural Worlds approach has fewer disadvantages than other classification approaches such as those of livelihoods (too unspecific or, in practice, too detailed, does usually not allow for comparisons, of little relevance to policies), smallholders (too sectorial a focus on agricultural aspects, too unspecific), producers/consumers (too inaccurate regarding the position in agricultural and food markets), classes (hardly applicable, particularly in rural, pre-industrial areas), or farming systems (too focused on agricultural technology, either without any focus on poverty or addressing poverty by combining several variables ad hoc).