Extreme poverty in India has been cut by half, World Bank says

The number of poor in the populous country has dropped dramatically from 2011 to 2019, according to a new study

Extreme poverty in India, the second-most populous country in the world, is estimated to have declined by 12.3 percentage points between 2011 to 2019, the Economic Times reported on Monday, citing a World Bank Policy Research Working Paper.

According to the report, the count dropped from 22.5% in 2011 to 10.2% in 2019 and the decline in rural areas was much higher than in urban areas.

The paper reportedly followed two approaches to estimating extreme poverty. “Both approaches yield qualitatively similar levels and trends in headcount poverty estimated at the $1.90 line: Poverty is about 12.3 percentage points lower in 2019 than 2011,” it said.

The study found that extreme poverty in the country declined to 19.1% from 2011 to 2015. Poverty saw a sharper fall of 9.1 percentage points in the next four years, dropping to 10%. Extreme poverty between 2017 and 2018 saw the fastest drop in over two decades, statistics showed.

While rural poverty declined by 4.4 percentage points between 2011 and 2015, it fell more sharply during the following four-year period from 21.9% to 11.6%.

Meanwhile, urban poverty saw a sharp decline of 6.6 percentage points – from 12.9% in 2015 to 6.3% in 2019. The report also noted a moderation in consumption inequality, albeit at a slower rate.

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