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India's 21.1% children live in poverty, as against China's 2%, South Asia's 19.5%: World Bank-UNICEF report

By Our Representative
A new report, jointly prepared by the World Bank and the UNICEF, has estimated that the “children headcount poverty rate in India is 22.1 per cent, as against the Adults headcount poverty rate of 14.3 per cent. Interestingly, the report finds that overall for the entire South Asia, both for children and for adults, is less than that of India.
Thus, in the South Asian region, which comprises of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan, the children’s poverty ratio is 19.5 per cent, while that of the adults it is 12.6 per cent. The report, titled “Ending Extreme Poverty: a Focus on Children”, gives no reason of this discrepancy, not is say how it arrived at such a conclusion.
As against India’s 22.1 per cent, the most important country which India policy-makers consider as its development rival, China has just 2 per cent children below poverty line. As for adults, they are just 1.8 per cent of China’s population. The report considers anyone under the age of 18 as a “child”.
What is equally appalling is, according to the report, “South Asia has the second highest share at nearly 36 per cent. Over 30 per cent of children living in extreme poverty live in India alone.” The highest share of poverty among children in the world is of Sub-Saharan Africa –over 51 per cent.
The report, released two days ago, says that it has been put out to focus on “an ambitious target: to end extreme poverty by 2030”, a vision, it claims, is “central” the World Bank Group and UNICEF, as to “the entire international community.”
Insisting that “urgent action is needed to achieve it”, the report says, “However, far too many people still live on far too little - some 767 million people were living in extreme poverty, on less than $1.90 per day, in 2013.”
Pointing out that children are the “most affected by extreme poverty – and by a huge margin”, the report states, “Our best estimate, based on data from 89 countries representing just over 84 per cent of the developing world’s population, is that almost 385 million children were living in extremely poor households in 2013.”
“Perhaps most strikingly, children are more than twice as likely to be living in households in extreme poverty - with 19.5 per cent of children in developing countries estimated to live on less than $1.90 a day, compared to 9.2 per cent of adults”, the report says.
This, says the report, cannot be explained by a large youth population. In fact, children are disproportionately affected, as they make up around a third of the sample population, but half of the extreme poor. The youngest children are the worst off – over 20 per cent of all children below 5 in the developing world live in extremely poor households, compared with nearly 15 per cent of 15-17 year olds.
“Where a child lives within their home country also plays a role. Eight out of ten of all children in extremely poor households live in rural, rather than urban, areas. Over a quarter of children living in rural areas live in extremely poor households, compared to just over nine per cent of children in urban areas”, the report says.
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