Nearly 400 mn kids facing extreme poverty: World Bank

Washington, Oct 11 (IANS) The World Bank has said despite a sharp decline in the number of extremely poor people over the last three decades, about 400 million children still live in abysmal conditions and it requires urgent steps to tackle it.

While the World Bank report, released Thursday, found that the poor in 2010 were as bad off as they were in 1981, the only exception were India and China.

The "average" poor person in a low-income country lived on 78 cents a day in 2010, compared to 74 cents a day in 1981. But, in India, the average income of the poor rose to 96 cents in 2010, compared to 84 cents in 1981. In China, the average poor's income rose to 95 cents, compared to 67 cents, the report said.

There was less than 721 million people living in extreme poverty in 2010 -- defined as under $1.25 per day -- compared to that in 1981. But a disproportionate number of children were among them, reported Xinhua citing the World Bank in a report released Thursday.

"We have witnessed an historic movement of people lifting themselves out of poverty over the past three decades. But the number of children living in poverty alone should leave no doubt that there remains much work to do," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

"We can reach our goals of ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity, including sharing that prosperity with future generations, but only if we work together with new urgency.

While the reduction in poverty moved significantly in middle- income countries such as China and India, low-income countries showed much slower progress, the World Bank's report said.

A total of 33 percent of the extremely poor lived in low-income countries in 2010, compared to 13 percent in 1981, noted the report released ahead of the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund scheduled to start Friday.

"The finding that over 400 million children live in extreme poverty and children are more likely to be poor than adults is disturbing, since this can exacerbate child labour and create inter-generational poverty traps," said Kaushik Basu, the chief economist and senior vice president at the World Bank.


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