The World Bank stated in its “Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle“ report issued on Wednesday, October 17, that nearly half of the world’s population is struggling to meet their basic needs with 3.4 billion people still live on less than $5.50 a day.
“Over 1.9 billion people, or 26.2 percent of the world’s population, were living on less than $3.20 per day in 2015. Close to 46 percent of the world’s population was living on less than $5.50 a day,” the report noted.
The World Bank report indicated that having a cost of living of around $3.20 daily constitutes the poverty lines in lower-middle-income countries, while $5.50 a day reflects standards in upper-middle-income countries.
However, the report also praised the East Asia region — the Philippines included — for being one of the best performers in the region. According to the report, the incomes of the poorest 40 percent of the population were growing on an average of 4.7 percent between 2010 and 2015.
“East Asia not only had the largest reductions in extreme poverty but also in the proportion of people living on less than $3.20 and $5.50 per day. While extreme poverty is very low, the region saw a higher percentage of people lacking access to sanitation,” the World Bank said.
The World Bank Group president Jim Yong Kim vowed to remain committed to achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day.
“Ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity are our goals, and we remain committed to them,” Kim said as reported by The Philippine Star.
The World Bank reported last month that the pace of extreme poverty reduction became slow despite the drop to 10 percent among the world’s population living in extreme poverty.
“At the same time, we can take a broader view of poverty at different levels and dimensions around the world. This view reveals that poverty is more widespread and entrenched, underlining the importance of investing in people,” Kim added.
The report also analyzed how poverty can vary within a household considering how access to adequate water and sanitation, education or electricity affect a family’s well-being.
“However, given that economic growth means that a much greater proportion of the world’s poor now live in wealthier countries, additional poverty lines and a broader understanding of poverty are crucial to fully fighting it,” the report said.
Incomes of the poorest 40 percent grew in 70 of the 91 economies monitored, according to the same report. More than half of the economies had their incomes grew faster than the average. However, shared prosperity is weakest in the very countries that most need it to improve.
“Progress in sharing prosperity lagged in some regions of the world,” the report indicated.
“Only one in four low-income countries and four of the 35 recognized fragile and conflict-affected states have data on shared prosperity data over time,” the World Bank added.
The new measures implemented by the World Bank aim to better monitor poverty in all countries.