Hong Kong / Washington: The Asian Development Bank, or ADB, said anyone living on less than $1.35 (Rs59) a day qualified as poor in the region, based on a survey of 16 developing countries, even as the World Bank redefined the yardstick to measure extreme poverty to $1.25 a day from $1.
Trying conditions: The number of people below the $1.25-a-day line in India increased to 455 million in 2005 from 420 million in 1981, but the percentage of the poor in the total population fell to 42% from 60%. Photograph: Ramesh Pathania / Mint
In 2005 there were 843 million people in the countries ADB surveyed who were poor by that definition, the bank said in a report released on Tuesday. The study covered India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam.
ADB said it developed the gauge to provide a region-specific yardstick to measure wealth.
“I would strive to keep economic growth high and create more employment opportunities, but at the same time cushion the impact of high food prices on the poor through subsidies,” Ifzal Ali, chief economist at the Manila-based ADB, told reporters on Tuesday in Hong Kong. He was responding to a question about how nations can balance growth and inflation while tackling poverty.
Separately, the World Bank said on Tuesday more people are living in extreme poverty in developing countries than previously thought as it adjusted the recognized yardstick for measuring global poverty to $1.25 a day from $1.
The World Bank said there were 1.4 billion people — a quarter of the developing world — living in extreme poverty on less than $1.25 a day in 2005 in the world’s 10-20 poorest countries.
Last year, the World Bank said there were one billion people living under the previous $1 a day poverty mark. In 1981, 1.9 billion people were living below the new $1.25 a day poverty line.
The new World Bank estimates are based on updated global price data, and the revision to the poverty line shows the cost of living in the developing world is higher than had been thought. The data is based on 675 household surveys in 116 countries.
While the developing world has more poor people than previously believed, the World Bank’s new chief economist, Justin Lin, said the world was still on target to meet a United Nations goal of halving the number of people in poverty by 2015.
The World Bank data shows that the number of people living below the $1.25 a day poverty line fell over nearly 25 years to 26% in 2005 from 52% in 1981, a decline on average of about 1% a year, he said.
In India, the number of people below the $1.25 a day poverty line increased to 455 million in 2005 from 420 million people in 1981. But the share of the population in poverty fell to 42% from 60%.