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The extent and nature of absolute poverty


Gordon, David; Kelly Irving, Michelle; Nandy, Shailen; & Townsend, Peter (2007). The extent and nature of absolute poverty. University of Bristol.


The Main Findings
1. Almost a quarter (24%) of the world’s population is absolutely poor (over 1.4 billion people).
2. Over 1.3 billion people (22%) have no toilet facilities whatsoever.
3. Over 900 million people (15%) are severely educationally deprived – they have never been to school and are illiterate
4. In the developing world, two out of every five people living in rural areas are absolutely poor compared with less than one in ten living in urban areas.
5. Absolute poverty rates are more than ten times larger in the remote countryside (57%) than in the large cities (5%).
6. Anti-poverty programmes need to address the problem of severe housing and sanitation deprivation in rural areas
of Africa and South Asia.
7.Children suffer from the highest rates of poverty and 200 million children less than 5 years old suffer from absolute poverty.
8.Significantly more girls and women are absolutely poor that boys and men.
9.Irrespective of the number of adults in a household the absolute poverty rate increases linearly with increasing numbers of children.
10. In developing countries there are five religious groups where over half the followers suffer from absolute poverty (Animist/Shamanism, African Traditional religions, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism and Vodoun) by contrast fewer than one in ten followers of Jainism, Judaism and Confucianism are absolutely poor. Just over a third of Muslims (37%) and just under a third of Christians
(27%) are absolutely poor.
11. Two thirds of adults who are self employed and work in farming or fishing are absolutely poor compared with only one in a hundred of those employed to do clerical work. Anti-poverty policies in developing countries need to encourage the creation of high quality jobs.
12. Two thirds of adults in developing countries who had no education are absolutely poor.


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Gordon, David
Kelly Irving, Michelle
Nandy, Shailen
Townsend, Peter