Share of population living below national poverty lines

What you should know about this indicator

National poverty headcount ratio is the percentage of the population living below the national poverty line(s). National estimates are based on population-weighted subgroup estimates from household surveys. For economies for which the data are from EU-SILC, the reported year is the income reference year, which is the year before the survey year.

Statistical concept and methodology: Poverty headcount ratio among the population is measured based on national (i.e. country-specific) poverty lines. A country may have a unique national poverty line or separate poverty lines for rural and urban areas, or for different geographic areas to reflect differences in the cost of living or sometimes to reflect differences in diets and consumption baskets.

Poverty estimates at national poverty lines are computed from household survey data collected from nationally representative samples of households. These data must contain sufficiently detailed information to compute a comprehensive estimate of total household income or consumption (including consumption or income from own production), from which it is possible to construct a correctly weighted distribution of per capita consumption or income.

National poverty lines are the benchmark for estimating poverty indicators that are consistent with the country's specific economic and social circumstances. National poverty lines reflect local perceptions of the level and composition of consumption or income needed to be non-poor. The perceived boundary between poor and non-poor typically rises with the average income of a country and thus does not provide a uniform measure for comparing poverty rates across countries. While poverty rates at national poverty lines should not be used for comparing poverty rates across countries, they are appropriate for guiding and monitoring the results of country-specific national poverty reduction strategies.

Almost all national poverty lines in developing economies are anchored to the cost of a food bundle - based on the prevailing national diet of the poor - that provides adequate nutrition for good health and normal activity, plus an allowance for nonfood spending. National poverty lines must be adjusted for inflation between survey years to remain constant in real terms and thus allow for meaningful comparisons of poverty over time. Because diets and consumption baskets change over time, countries periodically recalculate the poverty line based on new survey data. In such cases the new poverty lines should be deflated to obtain comparable poverty estimates from earlier years.

This series only includes estimates that to the best of our knowledge are reasonably comparable over time for a country. For economies for which the data are from EU-SILC, the reported year is the income reference year, which is the year before the survey year. For all other economies, the year reported is the year in which the underlying household survey data were collected or, when the data collection period bridged two calendar years, the year in which data collection started.

Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data
Last updated
May 20, 2024
Next expected update
May 2025
Date range
% of population

Sources and processing

This data is based on the following sources

The World Development Indicators (WDI) is the primary World Bank collection of development indicators, compiled from officially-recognized international sources. It presents the most current and accurate global development data available, and includes national, regional and global estimates.

Retrieved on
May 20, 2024
This is the citation of the original data obtained from the source, prior to any processing or adaptation by Our World in Data. To cite data downloaded from this page, please use the suggested citation given in Reuse This Work below.
World Bank's World Development Indicators (WDI).

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“Data Page: Share of population living below national poverty lines”. Our World in Data (2024). Data adapted from World Bank. Retrieved from [online resource]
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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data

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Multiple sources compiled by World Bank (2024) – processed by Our World in Data. “Share of population living below national poverty lines” [dataset]. World Bank, “World Development Indicators” [original data]. Retrieved June 15, 2024 from