World Economy

A fifth of developing world lives on below $1.25 a day

Izzet Keribar | Lonely Planet Images | Getty Images

The world has made progress in eradicating extreme poverty, but around one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.25 per day, according to the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDG) report 2014.

Despite achieving the MDG goal of halving global poverty before the 2015 target, progress on poverty reduction has been uneven across geographies, the UN said.

"Some regions, such as Eastern Asia and South-Eastern Asia, have met the target of halving the extreme poverty rate, whereas other regions, such as sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia, still lag behind," it wrote in a report released on Wednesday.

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In Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, 48 percent and 30 percent people live on less than $1.25 a day, respectively, compared with 56 percent and 51 percent in 1990.

India tops the list; one third of the world's extreme poor live inthe South Asian nation alone. The country hopes new Prime Minister Narendra Modi will push through reforms that revive the sluggish economy and lift millions out of poverty.

The female face of poverty
The female face of poverty

China, by contrast, has made great strides in reducing its extreme poverty rate, which stands at 12 percent from 60 percent two decades ago.

Despite its notable progress, China ranks second, behind India, in terms of countries with the largest share of the global extreme poor, at 13 percent.

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"Aside from those populous countries with large numbers of the extreme poor, high poverty rates are often found in small, fragile and conflict-affected countries," the UN said.

Nigeria (9 percent), Bangladesh (5 percent) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5 percent)rounded out the top five. Nearly two thirds of the extremely poor lived in those five countries in 2010.