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It seems a pretty easy question: how many people in the world live in poverty?
In practice it is not.
Until a few days ago, the standard measure for defining absolute poverty was that of the World Bank: living with less than the equivalent of US $ 1.90 per day.
And it represented, according to the 2013 figures, 10.7% of the world population, or almost 770 million people.
Now the world, and possibly your country, woke up poorer.
Starting this month, the World Bank will adopt flexible poverty lines for different countries based on the different economic realities of these nations.
The US-based institution It determined two new levels to measure poverty , US $ 3 , 20 and US $ 5 , 50 per day .
According to Francisco Ferreira, a senior World Bank adviser, the new guidelines will more accurately measure poverty levels in relative terms. “Being poor in Malawi is different from being poor in Brazil or Poland,” he explains.
The bad news here is that the number of poor people on the planet marks a considerable leap under the new system .
According to the agency’s statistics, 48.4% of the world’s population, or 3.460 million people, managed with less than US $ 5.50 per day.
In more specific terms, it means that in a country like Brazil, the world ‘s seventh largest economy, the number of people in absolute poverty increased from 8.9 to 45.5 million an a quint part of the population.
It is now in the group of countries with “high average income”, in which the poverty line stands at US $ 5.50 per day.
The increase in the poverty line also affects the richest nations. In Spain, the estimated percentage of people living on less than US $ 1.90 per day, which is 0.2% of the 46.5 million inhabitants.
If it is adjusted to the level of US $ 5.50, the proportion increases to almost 3%.
And this is not even taking into account the World Bank’s recommendation that high-income countries also measure themselves with an even higher poverty line: US $ 21.70 per day.
According to the institution, more than 20% of the people in the nations that conform to this classification (United States and the United Kingdom, for example) live below the highest threshold.
“It is not surprising that the richest countries tend to have higher poverty lines, while the poorer countries have lower poverty lines to reflect the differences in population.The monitoring of global poverty now presents a somewhat more menu. expanded “, adds Ferreira.
While in Brazil, for example, only 4.3% of the population lives on less than US $ 1.90 per day, the rate in the Democratic Republic of the Congo reaches 77%.
In fact, Ferreira explains that the World Bank will not abandon the US $ 1 , 90 per day limit to define extreme global poverty, as part of the institution’s mission to end poverty by 2030.
The most recent studies show that between 1990 and 2013, the number of people living under this absolute poverty line was reduced by half.
In the same period, the number of people who lived on less than US $ 5.50 a day was reduced from 68.2% of the world population to the current 48.4%.