World Bank Updates Poverty Estimates for the Developing World

New poverty estimates published by the World Bank reveal that 1.4 billion people in the developing world (one in four) were living on less than US$1.25 a day in 2005, down from 1.9 billion (one in two) in 1981.

The new numbers show that poverty has been more widespread across the developing world over the past 25 years than previously estimated, but also that there has been strong—if regionally uneven—progress toward reducing overall poverty.

Looking at the new estimates from the perspective of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of internationally agreed development targets, the developing world is still on track to halve extreme poverty from its 1990 levels by 2015. This is the first of eight critical goals.

”However, the sobering news—that poverty is more pervasive than we thought—means that we must redouble our efforts, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa,” said Justin Lin, Chief Economist of the World Bank and Senior Vice President, Development Economics.

Updated poverty estimates are published by the Bank every few years, based on the most recent global cost-of-living data as well as on country surveys of what households consume. Summary report: