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Global Absolute Poverty: The Beginning of the End?

page 65-90
The first Sustainable Development Goal of “Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” must be interpreted in light of an understanding of what “poverty in all its forms” means societally. It cannot be reduced to a narrow technical focus on official targets and indicators. There are reasons for concern that the official indicators are unsatisfactory, and that there is a considerable gap between the portrait they present and the societal understanding of poverty. Even if conventional approaches to global poverty estimation are used, considering a range of alternative poverty lines demonstrates that the poverty identification criteria can significantly influence the conclusions drawn about how much poverty there is, where it is, how it is evolving over time, and what are the appropriate priorities and policies. Although poverty is expected to be nearly “eliminated” in regions other than sub-Saharan Africa at the lowest poverty lines, this is not true at higher poverty lines. The projected regional composition of future poverty is also greatly dependent on the choice of poverty line, because poverty in the other world regions increases markedly at higher lines. The elimination of poverty by 2030 was already unlikely, but the global economic contraction due to COVID-19 has made it more difficult.

Table of Contents: Transitioning to No Poverty