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The World Bank Group’s goals are to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. This mission underpins our analytical, operational, and convening work in about 140 client countries.

For three decades, the number of people living in extreme poverty— defined as those who live on less than $2.15 per person per day at 2017 purchasing power parity—was declining. But the trend was interrupted in 2020, when poverty rose due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 crisis. The number of people in extreme poverty rose by 70 million to more than 700 million people. The global extreme poverty rate reached 9.3 percent, up from 8.4 percent in 2019.

The world’s poorest people bore the steepest costs of the pandemic. Their income losses were twice as high as the world’s richest, and global inequality rose for the first time in decades. The poorest also faced large setbacks in health and education which, if left unaddressed by policy action, will have lasting consequences for their lifetime income prospects.

The recovery since then has been uneven. Rising food and energy prices—fueled in part by the war in Ukraine and by climate shocks and conflict—have hindered a swift recovery. By the end of 2022, as many as 685 million people could still be living in extreme poverty.

The recent setbacks took place when the speed of progress toward poverty reduction was already slowing, in tandem with subdued global economic growth.

The recent crises have pushed the world further off track from the global goal of ending extreme poverty by 2030. Given current trends, 574 million people—nearly 7 percent of the world’s population—will still be living on less than $2.15 a day in 2030. And the challenge is made harder by the fact that extreme poverty is concentrated in parts of the world where it will be hardest to eradicate: in Sub-Saharan Africa, in conflict-affected areas, and in rural areas.

Last Updated: Nov 30, 2022

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