Policy Research Note No.3: Ending Extreme Poverty and Sharing Prosperity: Progress and Policies

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With 2015 marking the transition from the Millennium to the Sustainable Development Goals, the international community can celebrate many development successes since 2000. However, despite solid development gains, progress in poverty reduction and shared prosperity has been uneven and significant work remains. Three key challenges stand out: the depth of remaining poverty, the unevenness in shared prosperity, and persistent disparities in non-income dimensions of development.

To guide its work toward a “world free of poverty,” the World Bank Group in 2013 established two clear goals: end extreme poverty by 2030 and promote shared prosperity. This Policy Research Note updates the assessment of progress toward these two goals and examines the policy actions and institutional interventions needed to accelerate progress toward achieving these objectives.

The poverty goal is examined from three perspectives:

  • the evolution of income poverty based on the new international poverty line that has been re-estimated at $1.90 a day;
  • an assessment of person-equivalent income poverty, a new indicator that combines the incidence with the depth of poverty;
  • and a review of the breadth of poverty, recognizing that income shortfalls often coexist with multiple non-income deprivations.

The shared prosperity goal is examined on the basis of the latest comparison of comparable household data on income growth of the bottom 40 percent.

Global poverty is estimated to have declined in 2012 to 902 million people, or 12.8 percent of global population, according to the most recent data. Poverty is forecast to fall in 2015 to 702.1 million, a poverty rate of 9.6 percent, the first time the share people living in extreme poverty would be in the single digits.

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