World Bank reports drop in number of people living in extreme poverty in India, but worldwide figures give cause for concern

Firstly, the good news. There are fewer people living in extreme poverty in India today than earlier. In fact, if a study conducted by the 'Future Development' blog of the World Bank's Brookings Institute is anything to go by, there are only 71,357,612 people in the country living in "extreme poverty", or a little over five percent of the country's total population.

In absolute terms, these are huge numbers, but the number of extreme poor in India is rapidly reducing. India is currently home to about 11.1 percent of the extreme poor in the world, but this figure is reducing. In fact, apart from a handful of central African countries and South America's Venezuela, every other country in the world is reporting reduced numbers of extreme poor.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Extreme poverty is a term defined by the United Nations as a person earning less than the globally defined below poverty line target of $1.90 per person per day.

As of today, as mentioned in the 'Future Development' blog, India is home to the second largest population of extreme poor in the world, behind only Nigeria and just ahead of the Democratic Republic of Congo. However, while the absolute figures for the latter are on the rise, India's shows an improvement. This means that by the year 2019, India will go down to third place.

And now, for the bad news. It's becoming increasingly difficult to completely eliminate extreme poverty. Nigeria has over 86,985,449 people living in extreme poverty, a staggering 44 percent of the country's population. What's even worse, this figure is rising even further.

In Congo, there are 60,955,688 people who are classified as being extremely poor, making it 71 percent of the country's population. And this figure too is rising further.

Tiny Yemen, meanwhile, is the world's worst-performing country; there are 24,533,727 extremely poor people in Yemen, a staggering 85 percent of the country's total population.

In second from bottom is South Sudan, which only attained independence from Sudan in 2011. There are 11,417,557 people living in extreme poverty in South Sudan, 84 percent of the country's total population. And these are the countries where the situation is actually worsening.

The task of ending extreme poverty was given an initial deadline of 2030, but the researchers at World Bank say things have worsened, especially in the African countries, to the point where time is running out and things are becoming inexorably harder.

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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2018 14:00:50 IST

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