Just The Facts

By the Numbers: Poverty in Africa

Half of all people living in extreme poverty worldwide reside in sub-Saharan Africa.

Credit: atm2003-Shutterstock.com

Takeaways


  • In sub-Saharan Africa, 41% of the population lives in a state of extreme poverty.
  • Extreme poverty is most often found in countries with rural and agricultural populations.
  • Any effort to eradicate extreme poverty will have to center on sub-Saharan Africa.

1. In sub-Saharan Africa, 41% of the population lives in a state of extreme poverty and must try to get by on the local equivalent of just $1.90 or less per person per day.

2. This share is down significantly from about 55% in 1990. It is also down to about the level of where South Asia was in 1990, where extreme poverty now affects just 15.1% of the population.

3. Extreme poverty is most often found in countries with rural and agricultural populations, large numbers of younger people (especially teenagers and children), less educational attainment and larger family sizes.

4. Sub-Saharan Africa features all of these challenges much more intensely than other world regions. It is also not being steered by the performance of a single government with a single market, unlike China or India.

5. Another very big challenge for Africa is the continuing population boom, which is even greater than that experienced by China and India.

6. The populations of China and India grew by 18% and 47%, respectively, from 1990 to 2013.

7. By contrast, sub-Saharan Africa’s population might grow as much as 75% from 2013 to 2036. So the eradication of extreme poverty there could prove difficult.

8. But with the decline in East Asia’s extreme poverty, sub-Saharan Africa now stands as home to the largest population living in such conditions.

9. Half of all people living in extreme poverty worldwide can be found there (50.7%).

10. In contrast, only about one-eighth (13.3%) of the overall world population lives in sub-Saharan Africa currently.

11. The total number of people there contending with extreme poverty is about 388.7 million people — out of the 766.6 people facing that challenge across the world.

12. Any effort to eradicate extreme poverty will have to center on sub-Saharan Africa.

Sources: The Globalist Research Center, World Bank

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