China’s to Thank for Reducing Extreme Poverty in East Asia

Extreme poverty continues to drop worldwide — and China is one big force behind it.

According to a World Bank report released on Sunday, the world’s population living in extreme poverty, those living on less than $1.90 a day, fell from 35% to 11%.

The organization explained how this happened:

“The decline in extreme poverty was largely fueled by the rapid advances in two regions – East Asia and the Pacific and South Asia – specifically in China, Indonesia and India.”

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The World Bank recognized China’s lifting of more than 800 million people out of poverty since its market reforms in 1978. Discussing the new report, senior director Ana Revenga said (via Xinhua):

“Much of the success in poverty reduction globally has actually been driven by China’s incredible success in reducing poverty. If anybody can show the world how to do that last mile [of ending extreme poverty], it probably is China.”

This is a turnaround. In 1990, more than 60% of people in East Asia lived in extreme poverty. Twenty-three years later, that number is 3.5%.

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While progress looks imminent, extreme poverty prevails in other regions. Sub-Saharan Africa suffers the most, with 388.7 million people living below the line. This is half of the total number of the world’s extreme poor and greater than the other regions altogether.

Still, the findings don’t tell that everyone in China is well-off. It is part of the top 10 with the most number of the poor, alongside other Asian countries Bangladesh, India and Indonesia.

The World Bank described today’s poor:

“The global poor are predominantly rural, young, poorly educated, are mostly employed in the agricultural sector, and live in larger households with more children.”

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