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While poverty has declined, it still affects 767 million people worldwide. See the current data

On the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, WWP presents the most recent data on poverty reduction published this month in a World Bank report

Dominic Chavez/World Bank 

Brasilia, October 17, 2016 - Worldwide, an estimated 767 million people live in extreme poverty. This means one in ten people who survive on less than 1.90 USD a day, considering the currency's purchasing power parity in 2011. The number may seem high, but it is 1.1 billion less than in 1990, when one in three people lived in the same situation. These are the most recent estimates of poverty highlighted by the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP) on the Taking on Inequality report, published this month by the World Bank on the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Between 2012 and 2013 alone, 114 million people overcame extreme poverty, about 250.000 people per day. World Bank calculations refer exclusively to the period until 2013, the last year in which is possible to gather and estimate information on a global base.

According to data collected and analyzed since the 90s, poverty has decreased despite the 2008 world economic crisis (see table below).

Year

Number of people in extreme poverty (millions)

% of world population

1990

1850

35

1993

1855

33.5

1996

1666

28.8

1999

1693

28.1

2002

1588

25.3

2005

1328

20.4

2008

1206

17.8

2010

1078

15.6

2011

946

13.5

2012

881

12.4

2013

767

10.7

These people are not equally distributed across the globe. Sub-Saharan Africa alone concentrates more than the rest of the world, with 388 million people in extreme poverty, in other words, four out of every ten people.

Latin America and the Caribbean still have 33.6 million people in the same situation. Differences between regions can be seen below.

Region

% of people living in extreme poverty

Total number (millions)

East Asia and Pacific

3.5

71

Eastern Europe and Central Asia

2.3

10.8

Latin America and the Caribbean

5.4

33.6

Middle East and North Africa

-

-

South Asia

15.1

256.2

Sub-Saharan Africa

41

388.7

WORLD

10.7

766.6

In general, the report shows that, all over the world, the poor live mostly in rural areas (80%), have less than 14 years of age (44%), have no formal education (39%) and work in agriculture (65%).

A similar scenario is seen in Brazil, where rural areas show the highest figures in extreme poverty prevalence, a fact exposed in the publication Poverty profile: Rural North and Northeast, released by the International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG).

Moreover, the World Bank report focuses in detail on Brazil, due to the significant decrease in inequality seen in recent years. Other countries also worthy of special attention were Cambodia, Mali, Peru and Tanzania.

With 26.5 million Brazilians having overcome extreme poverty between 2004 and 2014, the proportion of people living on less than US $ 1.90 a day fell from 11% to 3.7% in that period. According to the report "labor market dynamics—including increasing wage premiums for the less skilled, more formal jobs, and a rising minimum wage— and the expansion of social policies helped boost the incomes of the poor. These two factors accounted for approximately 80 percent of the decline in inequality in 2003–13."

The Brazilian government currently defines the extreme poverty line at a monthly per capita income of 85 BRL. Considering the official threshold – at the time of 77 BRL, prior to adjustments made in Bolsa Família this year – the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea) testified that extreme poverty in the country reached 2.7% in 2014. Check out the article "Inequality and Poverty" in the Institute's Nota Técnica 22 ("Technical Note 22", available only in Portuguese).

Learn more about the Brazil Learning Initiative for a World without Poverty (WWP)

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Marco Prates