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The history of the end of poverty has just begun

Other high-income countries adopted poverty lines very similar to Sweden’s poverty line of $30 a day. And as I documented before, the size of social c

Other high-income countries adopted poverty lines very similar to Sweden’s poverty line of $30 a day. And as I documented before, the size of social care payouts and proposals for Universal Basic Incomes are also around $30 per day. Just like the UN relies on the $1.90 per day poverty line to track ‘extreme poverty’, I therefore rely on the $30 a day threshold as a definition for ‘poverty’. It is based on the notion of who is considered poor in the world’s richer countries. 

Taking into account the different price levels across countries, the latest statistics show that 85% of the world population live below this poverty line. This large visualization shows where they live. The height of the purple bar corresponds to the share in poverty in each country.

I ordered the countries by income: from the poorest countries on the very left to the richest countries on the right. The width of each country corresponds to the country’s population size.

The only countries in which not nearly everyone lives in poverty are high-income countries. GDP per capita is a measure of average income that not only takes people’s individual incomes, but also government expenditure, into account.7 As noted in the chart, in all countries that have a GDP per capita of less than $30,000 the majority of the population lives in poverty.

But the data also shows that in all countries a significant share lives in poverty. No country, not even the richest countries, has eliminated poverty. There are no ‘developed’ countries, there is work to do for all.