STORY Aug 09, 2018

Where do the world’s poorest people live today?

Globally, extreme poverty is at a historic low. The latest estimates show that 10 percent of the world or 736 million people lived below $1.90/day in 2015. But where exactly are these poor people located?

Until the 1990s, more than half of the World’s poor lived in East Asia and the Pacific, and about fewer than 1 in 5 were in in Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2015, the relationship had flipped, with over half of the world’s poor living in Sub-Saharan Africa and just 6 percent in East Asia and Pacific. Due to high population growth and slower declines in poverty rates, the total number of poor in Sub-Saharan Africa is not falling significantly.

In East Asia and the Pacific, slower population growth and rapid declines in poverty rates have reduced the number of poor from more than one billion in 1981 to just above 45 million in 2015. Meanwhile, South Asia has been home to about one third of the global poor throughout the past three decades and the remaining regions combined account for less than 10 percent of the world’s poor.