Extreme poverty is defined as living below the global extreme poverty line, set at $2.15 per day. In 2019, 9% of the world’s population—701 million people—lived in extreme poverty, compared to almost 30% in 2000, according to the latest data from the World Bank. This means that over 1.1 billion people have escaped extreme poverty over the past two decades.
Most regions have made progress in reducing extreme poverty
Since the start of the millennium, all regions except the Middle East & North Africa have seen declining shares of people living in extreme poverty. The largest reductions have come in East Asia and the Pacific, where the poverty rate has declined from 40% in 2000 to just over 1% in 2019.
Despite the overall global progress, over a third of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa lived in extreme poverty in 2019. The region accounts for almost 400 million—57%— of the global population living in extreme poverty.
Almost all countries with high extreme poverty rates are in Sub-Saharan Africa
Most countries with extreme poverty rates above 15% are in Sub-Saharan Africa. The highest extreme poverty rates can be found in Madagascar, Mozambique and Malawi.
India, Nigeria, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are the three countries with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty.
The World is Off-track to End Extreme Poverty by 2030
Note that these estimates were made before the latest September 2023 data update on extreme poverty by the World Bank.
World Bank estimates show the historical setback caused by the pandemic in eradicating extreme poverty. In a striking reversal of three decades of improvement, it is estimated that extreme poverty increased for the first time in a generation in 2020 to approximately 9.3%. The latest estimates suggest that in 2022, 8.4% of the world population – as many as 670 million people – were living in extreme poverty.
Looking ahead to 2030, the World Bank projects that around 575 million people—7% of the global population—will live in extreme poverty, most of which will live in Sub-Saharan Africa. As such, the world will significantly missing the global target set in the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing the extreme poverty rate to below 3% (less than 255 million people).
About the data
- Initial release 25 October 2022.
- Updated 31 March 2023 with the latest global and regional estimates from the World Bank.
- Updated 12 September 2023 with the latest projections from the UN SDG 2023 progress report.