|Source: Where Are the Poor and Where Are the Poorest?
As China's share of the world's extreme poor (living below $1.25 per day per person level) has dramatically declined, India's share has significantly increased. India now contributes 33% (up from 22 % in 1981). While the extreme poor in Sub-Saharan Africa represented only 11 percent of the world’s total in 1981, they now account for 34% of the world’s extreme poor, and China comes next contributing 13 percent (down from 43 percent in 1981), according to the World Bank report titled State of the Poor.
|Pakistan's Share of World's Poor Equals its Share of World Population
The share of poverty in South Asia region excluding India has slightly increased from 7% in 1981 to 9% now, according to the report.
The Economist offers a description of what extreme poverty means in the poor countries and how it compares with poverty in the developed world as follows: Nobody in the developed world comes remotely close to the poverty level that $1.25 a day represents. America’s poverty line is $63 a day for a family of four. In the richer parts of the emerging world $4 a day is the poverty barrier. But poverty’s scourge is fiercest below $1.25 (the average of the 15 poorest countries’ own poverty lines, measured in 2005 dollars and adjusted for differences in purchasing power): people below that level live lives that are poor, nasty, brutish and short. They lack not just education, health care, proper clothing and shelter—which most people in most of the world take for granted—but even enough food for physical and mental health. Raising people above that level of wretchedness is not a sufficient ambition for a prosperous planet, but it is a necessary one.
How poor is India? An Oxford study found last year that India has more poor than the poor population of all of sub-Saharan Africa. The latest World Bank data shows that India's poverty rate of 27.5%, based on India's current poverty line of $1.03 per person per day, is more than 10 percentage points higher than Pakistan's 17.2%. Assam (urban), Punjab and Himachal Pradesh are the only three Indian states with similar or lower poverty rates than Pakistan's.
Chinese success can at least partially be attributed to its communist party's heavy handed actions to suppress political chaos on the streets and sustain rapid economic growth since 1980s. Tienanmen Square in Beijing was the scene of the communist government crackdown by the units of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) against mass students protests in 1989, an action that was widely condemned by the western world and the United Nations. Since the death of Chairman Mao and passing of the leadership to late Deng Xiaoping in 1980s, the Chinese communist party has pursued liberalizing the nation's economy without political liberalization, in the same way other East Asians did earlier.
The Chinese strategy has allowed the nation to pursue rapid industrialization with accelerated economic growth over the last two decades, while forcefully controlling the chaos on the streets, to lift a record number people out of poverty.
Unlike "autocratic" China, "democratic" India has failed to use a period of high economic growth to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty, falling far short of China’s record in protecting its population from the ravages of chronic hunger, a United Nations officials has said.
Here's a video clip on grinding poverty in resurgent India:
Richest 300 people together have as much wealth as the bottom 3 billion people. On average, people in rich countries have 80 times more wealth than the people in the poor countries. Watch this video on extreme wealth inequality in the world today:
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