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Who are the poor in the developing world ?


  • Castaneda Aguilar,Raul Andres
  • Doan,Dung Thi Thuy
  • Newhouse,David Locke
  • Nguyen,Minh Cong
  • Uematsu,Hiroki
  • Azevedo,Joao Pedro Wagner De


This paper presents a new demographic profile of extreme and moderate poverty, defined as those living on less than $1.90 and between $1.90 and $3.10 per day in 2013, based on household survey data from 89 developing countries. The face of poverty is primarily rural and young; 80 percent of the extreme poor and 75 percent of the moderate poor live in rural areas. Over 45 percent of the extreme poor are children younger than 15 years old, and nearly 60 percent of the extreme poor live in households with three or more children. Gender differences in poverty rates are muted, and there is scant evidence of gender inequality in poor children's educational attainment. A sizable share of the extreme and moderate poor, 40 and 50 percent, respectively, have completed primary school. Compared with the extreme poor, the moderate poor are significantly more likely to have completed primary school and are less likely to work in agriculture. After conditioning on other individual and household characteristics, having fewer than three children, having greater educational attainment, and living in an urban area are strongly and positively associated with economic well-being. The results reinforce the central importance of households in rural areas and those containing large numbers of children in efforts to reduce extreme poverty, and are consistent with increased educational attainment and urbanization hastening poverty reduction.

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  • Castaneda Aguilar,Raul Andres & Doan,Dung Thi Thuy & Newhouse,David Locke & Nguyen,Minh Cong & Uematsu,Hiroki & Azevedo,Joao Pedro Wagner De, 2016. "Who are the poor in the developing world ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7844, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7844

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    2. Lucia Hanmer & Eliana Rubiano & Julieth Santamaria & Diana J. Arango, 2020. "How does poverty differ among refugees? Taking a gender lens to the data on Syrian refugees in Jordan," Middle East Development Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(2), pages 208-242, July.
    3. Ceballos, Francisco & Kannan, Samyuktha & Kramer, Berber, 2020. "Impacts of a national lockdown on smallholder farmers’ income and food security: Empirical evidence from two states in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 136(C).
    4. Sophie Bruin & Just Dengerink & Jasper Vliet, 2021. "Urbanisation as driver of food system transformation and opportunities for rural livelihoods," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 13(4), pages 781-798, August.
    5. Newhouse, David & Suárez Becerra, Pablo & Evans, Martin, 2017. "New global estimates of child poverty and their sensitivity to alternative equivalence scales," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 125-128.
    6. Rosario Michel-Villarreal & Martin Hingley & Maurizio Canavari & Ilenia Bregoli, 2019. "Sustainability in Alternative Food Networks: A Systematic Literature Review," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 11(3), pages 1-20, February.
    7. Nan Jiang, 2019. "Adult Children’s Education and Later-Life Health of Parents in China: The Intergenerational Effects of Human Capital Investment," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 257-278, August.
    8. Ahsan Jansson, Cecilia & Patil, Vikram & Vecci, Joe & Chellattan Veettil , Prakashan & Yashodha, Yashodha, 2023. "Locus of Control and Economic Decision-Making: A Field Experiment in Odisha, India," Working Papers in Economics 833, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.

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