Poverty Reduction in Asia and the Pacific: 12 Things to Know

Fast economic growth has helped to significantly reduced poverty in Asia and the Pacific over the years. However, much still needs to be done in a region that is home to about two-thirds of the world's poor.

  1. ADB estimates that there are 1.7 billion poor people in Asia and the Pacific, who are living on less than $2 a day.
    Source:ADB's work to fight poverty
  1. While 150 million moved out of extreme poverty from 2005 to 2008, the number of moderately poor - those living between $1.25 and $2 per day - dropped only marginally, by around 18.4 million. Most of those exiting extreme poverty became moderately poor.
    Source: ADB economics working paper Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: An Update
  1. As of 2009, 33.1% of the population in ADB's poorest borrowing countries live on less than $1.25 a day, compared with 23.6% of the population for all ADB countries.
    Source: ADB report Development Effectiveness Review 2011 Report
  1. Poverty remains highest in South Asia, at 83.2% in 1990 and 72.2% in 2008, and is currently lowest in East Asia, where the People's Republic of China (PRC) has achieved the fastest rate of poverty reduction, from 84.6% in 1990 to 29.8% in 2008.
    Source: ADB publication Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2012
  1. Between 2005 and 2008, two of the most populous countries in Asia, the PRC and Indonesia, accounted for some 92% of those rising above the $2 per day poverty line - the PRC accounted for 82% of the region's total reduction in the number of poor.
    Source: ADB economics working paper Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: An Update
  1. With the transition of India from low income to middle income status, majority or 81% of developing Asia's poor now live in middle income rather than lower income countries.
    Source: ADB economics working paper Poverty in Asia and the Pacific: An Update
  1. Sixty years ago, Asia was the world's poorest region but it now accounts for a third of the world's GDP and is likely to exceed 50% by 2050.
    Source: ADB fast facts How Can Asia Respond to Global Economic Crisis and Transformation?
  1. Growing income inequality continues to be a challenge for the region. In the past 2 decades, the Gini-coefficient in Asia - the most common measure of inequality - has risen sharply from 38 to 47. If inequality had stayed stable instead of rising, around 240 million more people in Asia could have escaped poverty. Source: ADB fast facts How Can Asia Respond to Global Economic Crisis and Transformation?
  1. ADB's developing member countries (DMCs) achieved the 2015 Millennium Development Goals income poverty target as early as 2005.
    Source: ADB report Development Effectiveness Review 2011 Report
  1. MDG targets for gender parity in primary and secondary education and access to clean water in rural areas have been met. However, targets for primary education completion, child mortality, access to clean water in urban areas, and access to improved sanitation in rural and urban areas are proving more difficult to achieve.
    Source: ADB report Development Effectiveness Review 2011 Report
  1. As with income poverty, there is also uneven progress in reducing nonincome poverty in developing Asia. In response, many countries in the region have made inclusive growth a development policy objective.
    Source: ADB publication Framework of Inclusive Growth Indicators 2012
  1. ADB's poverty reduction strategy rests on three mutually reinforcing pillars of pro-poor sustainable economic growth, inclusive social development, and good governance. All ADB operational and knowledge work contributes to poverty reduction, either indirectly, or directly.
    Source:ADB's work to fight poverty