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1.1.1 Proportion of the Population Living Below the International Poverty Line (US $1.90/day)

Target 1.1: By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.90 a day

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Custodian Organization: World Bank

Tier Classification: Tier I

To facilitate the implementation of the global indicator framework, all indicators are classified by the IAEG-SDGs (Inter-Agency and Expert Group on Sustainable Development Goals Indicators) into three tiers on the basis of their level of methodological development and the availability of data at the global level, as follows:

Tier I: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, and data are regularly produced by countries for at least 50 per cent of countries and of the population in every region where the indicator is relevant.

Tier II: Indicator is conceptually clear, has an internationally established methodology and standards are available, but data are not regularly produced by countries.

Tier III: No internationally established methodology or standards are yet available for the indicator, but methodology/standards are being (or will be) developed or tested.

Source: United Nations Statistical Division

Definition: The indicator Proportion of population below the international poverty line is defined as
the percentage of the population living on less than $1.90 a day at 2011 international prices. The ‘international poverty line’ is currently set at $1.90 a day at 2011 international prices.
Concepts: In assessing poverty in a given country, and how best to reduce poverty, one naturally focuses on a poverty line that is considered appropriate for that country. But how do we talk meaningfully about “global poverty?” Poverty lines across countries vary in terms of their purchasing power, and they have a strong economic gradient, such that richer countries tend to adopt higher standards of living in defining poverty. But to consistently measure global absolute poverty in terms of consumption we need to treat two people with the same purchasing power over commodities the same way—both are either poor or not poor—even if they live in different countries.
Since World Development Report 1990, the World Bank has aimed to apply a common standard in
measuring extreme poverty, anchored to what poverty means in the world’s poorest countries. The welfare of people living in different countries can be measured on a common scale by adjusting for differences in the purchasing power of currencies. The commonly used $1 a day standard, measured in 1985 international prices and adjusted to local currency using purchasing power parities (PPPs), was chosen for World Development Report 1990 because it was typical of the poverty lines in low-income countries at the time. As differences in the cost of living across the world evolve, the international poverty line has to be periodically updated using new PPP price data to reflect these changes. The last change was in October 2015, when the World Bank adopted $1.90 as the international poverty line using the 2011 PPP. Prior to that, the 2008 update set the international poverty line at $1.25 using the 2005 PPP.
Poverty measures based on international poverty lines attempt to hold the real value of the poverty line constant across countries, as is done when making comparisons over time. Early editions
of the World Bank’s World Development Indicators (WDI) used PPPs from the Penn World Tables to convert values in local currency to equivalent purchasing power measured in U.S dollars. Later editions used 1993, 2005, and 2011 consumption PPP estimates produced by the World Bank’s International Comparison Program (ICP).

Rationale: Monitoring poverty is important on the global development agenda as well as on the national development agenda of many countries. The World Bank produced its first global poverty estimates for developing countries for World Development Report 1990: Poverty (World Bank 1990) using household survey data for 22 countries (Ravallion, Datt, and van de Walle 1991). Since then there has been considerable expansion in the number of countries that field household income and expenditure surveys. The World Bank’s Development Research Group maintains a database that is updated annually as new survey data become available (and thus may contain more recent data or revisions) and conducts a major reassessment of progress against poverty every year. PovcalNet is an interactive computational tool that allows users to replicate these internationally comparable $1.90 and $3.10 a day global, regional and country-level poverty estimates and to compute poverty measures for custom country groupings and for different poverty lines.

The Poverty and Equity Data portal provides access to the database and user-friendly dashboards with graphs and interactive maps that visualize trends in key poverty and inequality indicators for different regions and countries. The country dashboards display trends in poverty measures based on the national poverty lines alongside the internationally comparable estimates, produced from and consistent with PovcalNet.

Limitations: Five countries – Bangladesh, Cabo Verde, Cambodia, Jordan, and Laos – use the 2005 PPP conversion factors and corresponding $1.25 a day and $2 a day poverty lines. This is due to the large deviations in the rate of change in PPP factors relative to the rate of change in domestic consumer price indexes. See Box 1.1 in the Global Monitoring Report 2015/2016 for a detailed explanation.

Despite progress in the last decade, the challenges of measuring poverty remain. The timeliness, frequency, quality, and comparability of household surveys needs to increase substantially, particularly in the poorest countries. The availability and quality of poverty monitoring data remains low in small states, countries with fragile situations, and low-income countries and even some middle-income countries. The low frequency and lack of comparability of the data available in some countries create uncertainty over the magnitude of poverty reduction.

Besides the frequency and timeliness of survey data, other data quality issues arise in measuring household living standards. The surveys ask detailed questions on sources of income and how it was spent, which must be carefully recorded by trained personnel. Income is generally more difficult to measure accurately, and consumption comes closer to the notion of living standards. And income can vary over time even if living standards do not. But consumption data are not always available: the latest estimates reported here use consumption data for about two-thirds of countries.

However, even similar surveys may not be strictly comparable because of differences in timing or in the quality and training of enumerators. Comparisons of countries at different levels of development also pose a potential problem because of differences in the relative importance of the consumption of nonmarket goods. The local market value of all consumption in kind (including own production, particularly important in underdeveloped rural economies) should be included in total consumption expenditure but may not be. Most survey data now include valuations for consumption or income from own production, but valuation methods vary.

Source: United Nations Statistical Division

Data Source: Data for this indicator was primarily collected from the United Nations Statistics Division’s Open SDG Data Hub. National level data from the UN Statistics Division is compiled by the respective custodian for the SDG indicator, unless otherwise noted. To learn more about the data used in this portal, visit the about page.

Data is accurate as of October 31, 2018.


1.1.1 Proportion of the Population Living Below the International Poverty Line (US $1.90/day) in the Sustainable Development Goals

Click on the SDG to reveal more information

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day, and there are millions more who make little more than this daily amount, plus many people risk slipping back into poverty.

Poverty is more than the lack of income and resources to ensure a sustainable livelihood. Its manifestations include hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, social discrimination and exclusion as well as the lack of participation in decision-making. Economic growth must be inclusive to provide sustainable jobs and promote equality.

Related 1.1.1 Proportion of the Population Living Below the International Poverty Line (US $1.90/day) Targets


By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, measured as people living on less than $1.90 a day