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China makes huge strides to tackle poverty, report says

A man begs on a street in Shanghai on May 22, 2013. China has cut its "extreme poverty" rate by nearly three-quarters.

Story highlights

  • Gallup report shows China growth responsible for reduction in extreme poverty for many
  • Rapid economic development and urbanization also major contributing factors
  • But 54% of Sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than US$ 1.25 or less a day
  • World Bank aims to cut down on those that live in "extreme poverty" to 3% worldwide by 2030

More than one in five people live in extreme poverty globally, according to a new report, though China's continued economic growth has improved the lives of millions.

The poverty rate in the world's most populous country fell by nearly three-quarters in the last six years, from 26% in 2007 to 7% by 2012, the report by Gallup, a U.S.-based research company, said.

Such a trend is attributed to the economic reforms within the country in the last couple of decades. One particular aspect of this socio-economic success has been the rapid industrialization of the country, with a major pivot of people moving from the poorer rural areas of the country to more well off jobs in urban centers, particularly within the manufacturing sector.

Improved education and healthcare have also played a role in helping many out of poverty in China.

Growth factor

But China's remarkable economic growth, which has rebounded to 7.8% this quarter, up from the previous quarter's growth of 7.5% has been crucial -- though forecasts by the International Monetary Fund estimate growth will slow down in 2014, falling to 7.25%.

These substantial strides by China meant overall poverty across the globe was halved from 40% to 20% within two decades, according to World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

Gallup interviews more than 2,000 people per year within China to obtain its results.

Many remain in poverty

Despite China's stellar improvements, the data found that many across the globe still live in extreme poverty, which Gallup classifies as those living on US$ 1.25 a day or less.

Sub-Saharan Africa was found to have the highest levels of poverty, with the majority of the population in the region -- 54% -- living under extreme poverty. The statistics in Liberia and Burundi are even more dire, with 90% of the population classed in this category.

At the other end of the spectrum, the United States, Europe, Australia and New Zealand all had the most positive results, with 1% or less of the overall population in these regions living in conditions of extreme poverty.

The World Bank is aiming to cut the extreme poverty rate to 3% globally by 2030. This ambitious aim means that many countries in Africa and Asia would need to slash their "extreme poverty rates" by over half.

Gallup surveyed 131 countries and its findings were solely based on self-reported income.