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Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger

Click here for September 2008 update on MDG Progress

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Goal 1 Reducing Poverty and Hunger
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TargetHalve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day
TargetAchieve full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people
TargetHalve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people who suffer from hunger

This page was published in April 2008, based on information in the 2008 Global Monitoring Report. New estimates of global poverty were subsequently published in August 2008.

Most recent global poverty projections anticipate that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty on less than $1 a day will fall from 29 percent in 1990 to 10 percent in 2015. Recently estimated purchasing parities for 2005 will inevitably affect calculation of poverty levels in developing countries but are not expected to change them significantly. Although extreme poverty has been reduced substantially since 1990, trends vary among the regions, with Sub-Saharan Africa lagging far behind the other regions in attaining MDG 1. 

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MDG 1 - Fig 1 - Share of people living

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Extreme poverty is defined as the proportion of individuals in developing countries who live on less than $1 a day (based on purchasing power parity 1993 constant prices). Poverty estimates are computed based on data covering 93 percent of developing countries’ population. MDG 1 Figure 1 shows that all regions except Sub-Saharan Africa are on track to halve that proportion between 1990 and 2015. On current trends, this region will reduce poverty by only 33 percent between 1990 and 2015. In 1990 South Asia had the second-highest proportion of people living on less than $1 a day (43 percent) but has made substantial progress in reducing poverty and on current trends may surpass the target in 2015. Most of the progress in this region can be attributed to India’s rapid growth over the past decade.

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MDG 1 - Fig 3 - Proportion of countries

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Of the 71 countries with available data (out of 149), 24 have already achieved or are on track to meet the poverty reduction target, but 47 are either off track or seriously off track. Fifteen of 18 countries in Europe and Central Asia, and 11 of 20 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, are seriously off track. Since the 5 fragile states with available data are all seriously off track, there is no evidence to suggest that even 1 fragile state will meet MDG 1. Fragile states are low income countries or territories with no CPIA score or a CPIA score of 3.2 or less.

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MDG 1 - Fig 4 - Proportion reduce under-five

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The prevalence of child malnutrition is measured by the percentage of children under the age of five whose weight-to-age ratio is more than two standard deviations below the international median. Standards of child growth are currently being updated, but preliminary figures suggest that the global picture of malnutrition should not be substantially altered. The data covers 97 percent of developing countries’ total population and suggests that many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East and North Africa are seriously off track. However, most countries in South Asia are on track. 
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MDG 1 - Fig 2 - Share of the poorest and richest

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Consumption data reveal the inequality that exists between the richest and poorest population quintiles in different regions. Individual countries’ income distribution data are aggregated to create regional income distribution data, so both inter- and intra-country inequality can be assessed. The data use purchasing power parities based on 2005 prices and cover 93 percent of developing countries’ total population.

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MDG 1 - Fig 5 - Annual changes in vulnerable

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Vulnerable employment is the sum of contributing family workers and own-account workers as a percentage of total employment. Data available at two points in time between 1990 and 2005 for 34 low- and middle-income countries highlight the diversity of patterns. Some countries witnessed a decline in vulnerable employment over time, while others experienced substantial increases. Countries that have faced severe shocks, such as financial crises in East Asia and the Pacific or Latin America and the Caribbean, over the period can be found in both groups. Transition economies can also be found in both groups.

Photo credit: Alejandro Lipszyc



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