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October 2021 is Community Economic Development Month

How would you summarize the effects of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on poverty?

We (World Bank) estimate that between 88 million and 115 million additional people will be pushed into extreme poverty in 2020, bringing the total to between 703 and 729 million living on less than $1.90 a day. The extreme poverty rate will be 9.1 to 9.4 percent, taking us back three years to 2017 levels. An additional increase of between 23 million and 35 million in 2021 could bring the total number of new poor to between 110 million and 150 million. 

How can anyone, anywhere live on $1.90 a day? Why set the bar so low?

Also known as the extreme poverty line, the $1.90-a-day line is based on national poverty lines in fifteen of the world’s poorest countries, reflecting the resources required to meet a person’s minimum nutritional, clothing, and shelter needs in those countries. The World Bank Group and the international community adhere to it to keep the most urgent focus on helping the world’s poorest citizens and to maintain a stable measure of global progress across countries.

While it is important to have a common extreme poverty measurement that can be compared internationally, there are other benchmarks. Countries have their own national poverty lines that consider the context and preferences of each society, and we work with countries to build their capacity to measure poverty accurately and consistently.

The World Bank Group tracks several other poverty lines, including $3.20 a day – corresponding to conditions in lower-middle-income countries – and $5.50 a day for upper-middle-income countries. We have also introduced a Multidimensional Poverty Measure, which includes access to education and basic utilities; and a Societal Poverty Line, based on the typical level of consumption or income in each country, which increases in value as a country grows richer.

Tracking multiple poverty lines shows us that even as progress has been made in reducing extreme poverty, hundreds of millions of people continue to live in challenging circumstances and remain vulnerable to falling back into abject conditions. This is a human tragedy that COVID-19 is making worse. Extreme poverty is a global challenge we would like the International Poverty Line to continue to draw attention to, even as we acknowledge the significant progress in recent decades in reducing the number of people living below this line.

Rotary supports investments in people to create measurable and enduring economic improvement in their lives and communities.

The Rotary Foundation enables Rotarians to invest in people by creating sustainable, measurable and long-term economic improvements in their communities and livelihoods by:

1. Building the capacity of entrepreneurs, community leaders, local organizations, and community networks to support economic development in impoverished communities.

2. Developing opportunities for productive work.

3. Reducing poverty in under-served communities.

4. Supporting studies for career-minded professionals related to economic and community development


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