India Among Two Dozen Nations Halving Poverty Rate Over 15 Years
July 12, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—Poverty in India, the world’s most populous country, has plummeted over 15 years. A remarkable 415 million people exited poverty over the period from 2005-2006 to 2019-2021, according to a report by the UN Development Program. Over the time period, which also saw population growth, the incidence of poverty fell from 55.1% to 16.4%, from 645 million people to 230 million.
India’s population considered to be deprived under a nutrition measure declined from 44.3% to 11.8%. For drinking water, the decline was from 16.4% to 2.7%. For electricity: 29% to 2.1%
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is calculated for 110 nations, and the UNDP reports that 25 have halved their poor populations over the past decade and a half. In addition to India, these include Cambodia, China, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, Indonesia, Morocco, Serbia, and Vietnam. The factors employed by the UNDP’s index include nutrition, child mortality, school duration and attendance, cooking fuel availability, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, and assets. (EIR has not had the opportunity to study in detail the UNDP’s methodology in constructing its MPI—including notoriously under- and misreported factors such as the so-called “informal sector”—and recommends a degree of caution in that regard. To wit: the Honduras numbers are known to significantly understate the reality of poverty on the ground in that country.)
In Cambodia, for example, the reduction from 5.6 million living in poverty to 2.8 million took place in under 8 years.
Two-thirds of all poor people (730 million) live in middle-income countries. And young people make up a great portion of the world’s poor—the poverty rate among children is 27.7%, compared to 13.4% for adults.
Overall, the UN figures show that rapid development is possible.