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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Worldwide 300 Million More People in Poverty

Worldwide 300 Million More People In Poverty

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The United Nations recently released the latest numbers on poverty which show that 300 million more people are now considered poor. The Christian Science Monitor reports that a new method for measuring poverty shows that the number of poor people is at 21 percent. That equals about 1.7 billion people. Sub-Saharan Africa is still home to the largest proportion of poor people, but more than half live in South Asia.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the UN releases these numbers each year. This report sets the standard for what it means to be poor. According to the way the UN documents poverty, you’re considered poor if you live on less than $1.25, but some say income shouldn’t be used as a measure for poverty. “There are some things money can’t buy,” Sabina Alkire, cocreator of the index and director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, told The Christian Science Monitor.  “It might not buy electricity; it might not buy a public health system, or an education system.”

Instead of income, Alkire looks at poverty according to ten indicators that fall into categories such as health, education and basic standards of living. “For the first time ever, it measures poverty by looking at the disadvantages poor people experience at the same time,” she told the Christian Science Monitor. Using these methods, the number of poor in Ethiopia are doubled. “The point is you can have rapid progress on the income poverty side without commensurate progress on other side,” Jeni Klugman, director and lead author of the Human Development Report, told the Christian Science Monitor.

This new measuring system could change the way aid is handed out. It can influence donors to give their money to different areas. In the aid world, “[W]e’ve known for a long time that while a country might look like it’s doing fine on a national level, there are great disparities when you look below the surface,” Carlisle Levine, a senior technical adviser for CARE, told the Christian Science Monitor. “For us, it’s added information that helps us back up our arguments for making the sort of investments we make.” But Alkire believes the new system is more fair. “I wanted to look at poor people with an equal weight wherever they lived,” Alkire told the Christian Science Monitor, “instead of letting the size of their country dictate how much we care about them.”

Tags: national level, electricity, Christian Science Monitor, Initiative, development initiative

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