Data InsightsExtreme poverty, though lower than in the past, is still very high in Sub-Saharan Africa
June 17, 2024Pablo Arriagada

Extreme poverty, though lower than in the past, is still very high in Sub-Saharan Africa

A line chart titled "Share of population living in extreme poverty." The chart tracks the percentage of the population living below the International Poverty Line of $2.15 per day in Sub-Saharan Africa and East Asia and Pacific from 1990 to 2022. The y-axis ranges from 0% to 60%, and the x-axis ranges from 1990 to 2022. Two lines are shown: one for Sub-Saharan Africa (in red) starting at around 55% in 1990 and gradually declining to around 35% by 2022; the other for East Asia and Pacific (in brown) starting at about 60% in 1990 and dropping steeply to around 2% by 2022. The data source is the World Bank Poverty and Inequality Platform (2024). A note mentions the data is expressed in international dollars at 2017 prices. The chart is produced by Our World in Data.

The United Nations’ first Sustainable Development Goal is to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” by 2030. The world is still very far away from this goal.

The data from the World Bank shows that in 1990, 55% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa and 65% in East Asia and the Pacific lived in these conditions — broadly similar figures. But the most recent figures were 37% in Sub-Saharan Africa and 1% in East Asia and the Pacific.

The United Nations focuses on “extreme poverty” in its Sustainable Development Goals agenda. They define this as living with less than $2.15 per day. This figure represents what $2.15 could buy you in the United States in 2017 prices; it is adjusted for inflation and cost of living differences between countries.

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