WORLD BANK: Millions Have Been Lifted Out Of Poverty, But Concerns Remain

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Photo: Daniel Goodman / Business Insider.com

The World Bank released a report yesterday [pdf] on poverty levels in the developing world, and found that between 1981 and 2008, the percentage of the world living on below $1.25 per day in 2005 terms has declined to 22%, from approximately 43% in 1990 and from 52% in 1981.The most insane stat: The percentage of East Asian residents living below $1.25 fell to 14% in 2008 from 77% in 1981

Indeed, while the trend decline in the $1.25 a day poverty rate was 1.05% points per year, it’s much lower—0.54% per year—if you exclude China.

This chart illustrates just how great an impact China’s growth has had on these measures:

Poverty Rates

Photo: World Bank

Still, poverty did decline in all other regions. South Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and South America also saw substantial improvement. Sub-Saharan Africa still lags, but by 2008 it had broken the 50% barrier for those living below $1.25.

The rest of the data are not entirely rosy.

Most of those who made it out of poverty have failed to eclipse the $2-a-day mark.

While the number of people living between $1.25 and $2 has nearly doubled to 1.18 billion in 2008 from 648 million in 1981, those living on more than $2 declined only slightly, to 2.47 billion from 2.59 billion over the same period. 

While some of these figures will likely be revised upward in the coming years as a result of the financial crisis, any changes shouldn’t be too dramatic given the crisis was felt hardest in the developed world.

[h/t FT]

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