We always dream that our world would be free from poverty and all people living in the world would live without having to worry about the basic needs, above the poverty line around the world. To define poverty better, let’s look into the earning levels of developing countries and the per capita income by World Bank standards and studies.

Among the 145 countries around the world that strive to end extreme poverty, the majority of the countries have already achieved their goals of cutting the poverty levels in half, in the First Millennium Development Goal target. In 2010, most nations achieved their target of $1.25 per day per capita income. It is estimated that 21% of the people around the world lived under $1.25 a day in 1990. This translates to 1.22 billion people lived on less than $1.25 a day in 2010, while 1.91 billion were making less than $1.25 per day in 1990.

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At the current rate of progress, an estimated 1 billion people will live under the poverty line by the year of 2015. Progress among the people who lived under $2 per day has been slower. The total number of people living under daily income of $2 per day around the world was over 2.4 billion around the world, in 2010.

Top 10 Rich Countries of the World

Rank

Country

Int. $

Year

1

Qatar

100,889

2012

2

Luxembourg

77,958

2012

3

Singapore

60,799

2012

4

Norway

54,397

2012

5

Brunei

54,114

2012

6

United States

51,704

2012

Hong Kong

50,936

2012

7

Switzerland

44,864

2012

8

San Marino

42,724

2012

9

Canada

42,317

20

 

10 poorest countries of the world

Rank

Country

Income $

Year

178

Afghanistan

1,055

2012

179

Madagascar

945

2012

180

Central African Republic

851

2012

181

Malawi

848

2012

182

Niger

807

2012

183

Eritrea

710

2012

184

Liberia

665

2012

185

Burundi

619

2012

186

Zimbabwe

552

2012

187

Congo, Dem. Rep.

365

2012

 

What does it mean to be poor?

We often refer to the developed countries as the rich countries and the developing countries as the poor countries. How do we determine the poverty level? How is poverty measured? If a majority of the people in a country is struggling to survive, a strong economy in the developed country has very little significance. A successful development could include the following.

  • A stable social, political, and economic environment, with social, political or economic freedom.
  • Ability of the citizens to make free educated choices without being coerced.
  • Access to all basic necessities of civic life and improvement in the standard of living
  • ability to participate in democratic activities
  • ability to choose a leader
  • have a say in one’s own future
  • To follow the guidelines of United Nations for human development

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Extreme poverty line

The extreme poverty line lies below $1.25 daily per capita income. It is measured by averaging the 20 poorest countries of the world. In the developing world, the extreme poverty line lies below $2.00 per capita per day. Recently the population living under the $2.00 poverty live has declined slightly to 41% from 69.7% in the 1990. East European and Central Asian countries are quickly making the poverty line a thing of the past.

Poverty line in The United States

In the United States, you would be considered poor if your daily income is below $13.50 a day as estimated in 2012. The threshold for a poor family is $23, 000 annual income, in a family with two adults and two children.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, 2013

Persons in Family/Household

Annual Income:

48 Contiguous States and D.C.

Annual Income:

Alaska

Annual Income:

Hawaii

1

$11,490

$14,350

$13,230

2

15,510

19,380

17,850

3

19,530

24,410

22,470

4

23,550

29,440

27,090

5

27,570

34,470

31,710

6

31,590

39,500

36,330

7

35,610

44,530

40,950

8

39,630

49,560

45,570

More than 8 persons

Add $4,020 for each additional person

Add $5,030 for each additional person

Add $4,620 for each additional person

Source: Federal Register, Vol. 78, January 24, 2013, pp. 5182-5183. Available at Annual Update of the Poverty Guide Lines

 

Trends among the poorest countries

cox-wb-poverty-1

There has been a steady improvement in the income levels of the poorest countries of the world since 1970, according to the 2011 report by UN, on Human development. Standard of living and life expectancy has also increased in the poorer countries form 59 years to 70 years. School enrollments have also improved to up to 70%.

Inequality of wealth

cox-wb-poverty-2

Many of the poorer countries are making rapid progress and catching up with the developed countries. Countries in Africa, for example, make a slow progress due to an HIV epidemic. Almost 1.75 billion people around the world are deprived of the basic necessities of life, such as education, food, clean water, proper treatment facilities, and so on. About 2.6 billion people live on less than $2.00 per day, and about 6.9 billion people make less than $1.25 daily.

A society where inequality exists is bound to collapse. The consequences of inequality can be as follows.

  • bitterness, and fragmentation,
  • A polarized societyafrica
  • added inequality of
    • Wealth;
    • Opportunities;
    • Space.

There has been a substantial reduction in both extreme poverty levels and the number of people living below the extreme poverty thresholds in the recent years. This is encouraging news for us. Although some countries of the world is doing better than the others,

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Chart credits: New Geography

Source: Institute of Ecolonomics

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