Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: an update
This paper updates poverty estimates for Asia from 2005 to 2008.
- estimates show significant poverty reduction in the region under both the $1.25 per day and $2 per day poverty lines
- for $1.25 per day poverty line, the People’s Republic of China and India account for most of the reduction, driven by their impressive economic growth
- in contrast, several developing member countries (DMCs) saw the number of poor increase, even if their headcount ratios declined. These economies typically recorded sluggish growth, indicating that poverty reduction largely depends on gross domestic product growth
- the relative poor performance of low-income countries in reducing poverty means continued support for these DMCs by the Asian Development Bank and other donors is critical. In this context, Asian Development Fund (ADF)-only countries deserve additional assistance
- while economic growth is necessary, it is insufficient to guarantee significant poverty reduction. The impact of growth on poverty was smaller during 2005–2008 relative to 2002–2005. This corroborates the observed increases in inequality in Asia and the Pacific, implying the need for more inclusive growth. Policies and strategies that ensure equal access to opportunities and the establishment of social protection systems in the region are urgently required
- given the importance of reliable and up-to-date poverty estimates, it is essential for the development community and national governments to invest in improved data collection and dissemination of analytical results for further poverty research.