19.10.2018

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Despite decline in extreme poverty, broader measures show billions still struggle to meet basic needs. Global poverty has fallen to a new low of 10 per cent. But poverty rates remain high in low-income countries, countries affected by conflict and sub-Saharan Africa.

In 1990 the global poverty rate was at 36 per cent. Economic advances around the world mean that while fewer people live in extreme poverty, almost half the world’s population — 3.4 billion people — still struggles to meet basic needs, the World Bank said.

Living on less than USD 3.20 per day reflects poverty lines in lower-middle-income countries, while USD 5.50 a day reflects standards in upper-middle-income countries, the World Bank said in its biennial Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle published in October 2018.

The World Bank remains committed to achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty, defined as living on less than USD 1.90 a day, by 2030. The share of the world’s population living in extreme poverty fell to 10 per cent in 2015, but the pace of extreme poverty reduction has slowed, the Bank warned.

However, given that economic growth means that a much greater proportion of the world’s poor now live in wealthier countries, additional poverty lines and a broader understanding of poverty are crucial to fully fighting it, the report says.

New standards for a growing world

Half of the countries for which the World Bank monitors poverty have now reduced extreme poverty to below 3 per cent but that does not mean poverty is non-existent in these countries.

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