Trends in Global Poverty


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Trends in Global Poverty

The distribution and trends of global poverty look different depending on what measure of poverty you use. The majority of the global population living in extreme economic poverty, below $2.15/day, live in sub-Saharan Africa and fragile and conflict affected countries. ​

​​​General Global Trends

While the proportion of people living in extreme poverty has fallen globally in recent decades, poverty rates have increased in several of the most fragile places. It is also in these countries where poverty rates can change significantly in response to shocks, such as climate related disasters or conflict and where social protection systems are less developed to respond quickly to emerging needs.

At the higher poverty line of $3.20 per day, it is estimated that ¾ of the poor live in middle income countries. This is consistent with where the poorest people live according to multidimensional poverty measures, which identify needs beyond the economic dimension.

Poverty within Countries

Most countries have their own national poverty lines, which set a threshold for poverty based on local context. In many countries this is explicitly a relative measure, set at a proportion of the average income of the country, emphasising the importance of understanding how poverty relates to inequality and the distribution of outcomes and opportunities in a society. While inequality between countries has fallen in recent decades, as relatively low income countries have grown faster than higher income countries, inequality within many countries has increased.

Disaggregating the data on poverty within countries helps to identify particular individuals and groups more likely to live in poverty and the associated discrimination and exclusion they face. In many countries this includes women, children and persons with disabilities, as well as other locally relevant identities based on which people face inequalities.

​Us​eful Links​​

The following links provide useful further information on the trends in global poverty:​​​​

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