Wednesday, September 14, 2011

World Poverty

The publication of new poverty measures for the United States yesterday made Brigitte wonder what other country’s rates might be. I was dubious of being able to find such data—which tells you how “retired” I have become. Of course there are such data. Of course. Just ask the CIA. Herewith is a map that shows the poverty rates across the world as derived by Wikipedia from the 2008 CIA Factbook.


The data shown here are based on official rates in place in the countries shown. Clicking on the image will, of course, enlarge it. A tabular presentation of very similar data from CIA and other sources is on Wikipedia (link), the same place where I obtained my map.

The striking features here are the roughly similar poverty rates across the north of the globe—and high rates of poverty overlaying the southern latitudes of the earth. These poverty rates, of course, apply in their own countries and in the context of those countries. You will notice that China’s poverty rate is better than that in the United States (2.8%). In China the official line is drawn at income of $125 per annum, defined as “low income”; anyone who falls below that is considered to be poor; those who fall below $90/year are considered to be in “absolute” poverty. Poverty has a different meaning all depending on where you are. Some European countries also do better than we do—but there the income thresholds, of course, are much higher than in China.

Some countries did not have data for 2008. Japan is one of them. The rate there in 2007 was 15.7 percent; the Japanese, therefore would have been colored blue, like we are.

I will bring the U.S. data soon, thus updating the earlier tabulations already found on this blog.

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