‘Persistent’ chronic poverty worldwide

A high proportion of the world's population who were living in poverty up to 2000 are still in poverty today, according to a study from the Brooks World Poverty Institute in Manchester. This is despite economic growth since 2000, and despite human development improvements in many low- and lower-middle-income countries.  

Key points

  • Significantly greater benefits (and fewer losses) from recent development across a range of indicators have gone to people in the second and third income quintiles – leaving those in the poorest quintile behind.
  • This suggests that a significant proportion of people in poverty, between a quarter and a half, are living in chronic poverty in low- and lower-middle-income countries.
  • Policies to equalise the benefits of development are often not amenable to international goals and targets, and they require positive political change and supportive change in social values.
  • The main action to achieve greater equality is needed at the national level, and national policy-makers need better – and especially longitudinal – data and analysis, particularly on wages and urban populations, if policies for those in the greatest poverty are to improve significantly.
  • The post-2015 development framework should include the new goal of promoting equality in its various forms – or if this is not politically feasible, at least the development of indicators of equality that can then be closely monitored after 2015.

Source: Amanda Lenhardt and Andrew Shepherd, What Has Happened to the Poorest 50%?, Working Paper 184/2013, Brooks World Poverty Institute


Publication date: 
Jun 4 2013