Global poverty and the new bottom billion: Three-quarters of the World’s poor live in middle-income countries

Published on 3 September 2010

This paper argues that the global poverty problem has changed because most of the world’s poor no longer live in poor countries meaning low-income countries (LICs).

In the past poverty has been viewed as an LIC issue predominantly, nowadays such simplistic assumptions/classifications can be misleading because a number of the large countries that have graduated into the MIC category still have large number of poor people. In 1990, we estimate that 93 per cent of the world’s poor people lived in LICs.

In contrast, in 2007-8 we estimate that three-quarters of the world’s approximately 1.3 billion poor people now live in middle-income countries (MICs) and only about a quarter of the world’s poor – about 370 million people live in the remaining 39 low-income countries, which are largely in sub-Saharan Africa.

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published by
Sumner, A.


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