Poverty Conundrum: Why Most Poor People Live in Middle-Income Countries

Published on Spiegel Online International, by Rema Nagarajan, June 29, 2016.

One might think that the countries where most poor people live would be classified as poor themselves. But they aren’t. The World Bank’s “middle-income countries” designation means that huge numbers of the poorest are placed at further disadvantage.  

With a population of over 204 million, the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh would be the fifth most populous nation in the world — after China, India, the US and Russia — if it were a separate country. But it would also be extremely poor, with very poor development indicators and high levels of deprivation. The share of children affected by malnutrition and the infant mortality rate would be similar to or even higher than in those designated as low-income countries by the World Bank. But Uttar Pradesh is part of India, which is classified as a middle-income country (MIC). And this classification is problematic for the socially deprived in multiple ways — and is symptomatic of the situation facing many of the world’s poorest.

Over 75 percent of those suffering from extreme poverty in the world live in countries that are considered middle income. India alone is home to 275.9 million of the poorest, living on less than the $1.90 per day used by the World Bank as the cut-off for extreme poverty. All other lower income countries — located mainly in sub-Saharan Africa with a few in Asia, such as Afghanistan, Nepal and Cambodia — have just 258.3 million put together.

The situation is similar when looking at those suffering from hunger: Here again, the UN’s 2015 report on global hunger shows that lower-middle-income countries account for over half the hungry people in the world compared to just 18 percent in low-income countries … //

… Why Are Most People In These Countries Not Middle-Income?

The problem is that income distribution is not taken into account when countries are classified. In countries recently reclassified as middle income, the majority of the population remains poor even as the country might be getting richer because wealth remains concentrated in the hands of the rich. This inequality is often further exacerbated by factors such as race, gender, caste or the rural-urban divide.

“Since 2000, 27 countries have graduated and 707 million poor people ‘moved’ into MIC countries because despite growth the absolute number of poor people hasn’t fallen sufficiently in these countries,” wrote Ravi Kanbur, a professor of applied economics at Cornell University in the US, and Andy Sumner, a development economist in Kings College London, in a 2011 paper titled Poor Countries or Poor People? Development Assistance and the New Geography of Global Poverty.”

This is amply illustrated when you compare the share of income or consumption of the bottom 10 percent with that of the top 10 percent in various countries. In an upper-middle-income country like Brazil, for example, the bottom 10 percent is responsible for just 1 percent of total consumption while the top 10 percent consumes almost 42 times as much. In India, the bottom 10 percent accounts for just 3.5 percent of the total consumption, while the top 10 percent accounts for 30 percent.

Income Classification and Inequality … //

… (full text, 4 graphs).

Download: The State of Food Insecurity in the World, on Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations FAO.org, Rome 2015, 62 pages;


European Purgatory: Migrant Smugglers Helping Refugees Return to Turkey, on Spiegel Online International, by Riham Alkousaa and Maximilian Popp, June 30, 2016: the closure of the Balkan route has left tens of thousands of refugees stranded in Greece with nowhere to go. Smugglers who once profited from sneaking migrants deeper into Europe are now offering a new service: A way back to Turkey. Mesut Mahmud dreamed of a life in Germany, France or Sweden. But now, after spending four months in Greece as a refugee, he only wants one thing: To get out of Europe …;

Massacres: Where Have all the Islamists Gone? on Dissident Voice, by James Petras, June 30, 2016: over the past fifty plus years, over 125 mass shootings/massacres have occurred within the United States but not one perpetrator has been identified as a trained member of an international Islamist terrorist organization. A review of the massacres will shed considerable light on the political, cultural and socio-psychological features of US society …;

Corbyn: Clowns to the left of him, Jokers to the right, on Dissident Voice, by Stuart Littlewood, June 30, 2016;

The Forbidden Palestinians in North America, on Dissident Voice, by Paul Larudee, June 29, 2016;

Why Canadians Should Care About Repression in Mexico, on teleSUR english, by Harsha Walia, June 28, 2016;

Crown Estate makes record £304m Treasury payout, on BBCnews, June 28, 2016: The Crown Estate has delivered a record £304.1m to the Treasury after the value of its portfolio rose 9.7% to £12bn;
on en.wikipedia: Crown Estate is a collection of lands and holdings in the United Kingdom belonging to the British monarch as a corporation sole, making it the “Sovereign’s public estate”, which is neither government property nor part of the monarch’s private estate.[1][2][3][4] As a result of this arrangement, the sovereign is not involved with the management or administration of the estate, exercising only very limited control of its affairs.[5] Instead, the estate’s extensive portfolio is overseen by a semi-independent, incorporated public body headed by the Crown Estate Commissioners, who exercise “the powers of ownership” of the estate, although they are not “owners in their own right”.[1] The revenues from these hereditary possessions have been placed by the monarch at the disposition of Her Majesty’s Government and thus proceed directly to Her Majesty’s Treasury for the benefit of the British nation.[1][6][7] The Crown Estate is formally accountable to the Parliament of the United Kingdom, where it is legally mandated to make an annual report to the sovereign, a copy of which is forwarded to the House of Commons. The Crown Estate is one of the largest property owners in the United Kingdom with a portfolio worth £12 billion,[9] with urban properties valued at around £9.1 billion, and rural holdings valued at £1.6 billion, representing an annual profit of £304.1 million as at 31 March 2016 …; /External Links;

Sovereign Wealth Fund Withdrawals Remain Headwind For Fund Companies, on BARRON’S, by Chris Dieterich, June 28, 2016:  sovereign wealth funds continue to pull money out of investments with global asset managers, reports Attracta Mooney at Financial Times;

Christoph Hoerstel zur Lage, Karwoche 25, 2016, 7.55 min, uploaded by Christoph Hörstel, June 26, 2016;

Mexico: State Terror, Education Reform and the Stock Exchange, on teleSUR english, by Renata Bessi & Santiago Navarro F., June 24, 2016: the violence in Oaxaca is a result of neoliberal demands by the IMF, World Bank, and OECD to place Mexican education on the speculative market;

Economic Update with Richard Wolff, 58.02 min, uploaded by MNN NYC (Manhattan Neighborhood Network New York), June 16, 2016;

Les guerres inutiles pour le pétrole1ère partie, dans Global Relay Network, par WILL SUMMER, le 7 Mai 2016;

uploaded by Louis Rossmann:

KenFM im Gespräch mit: Gerhard Wisnewski, 100.30 min, uploaded by KenFM, Dez 17, 2015 … sagt: Journalismus heißt, etwas zu drucken, von dem jemand will, dass es nicht gedruckt wird. Alles andere ist Public Relations. Wer als Pressevertreter das Zitat von George Orwell zu seinem Credo macht, bekommt spätestens seit dem 11. September 2001 ein wirtschaftliches Problem. Bestraft wird heute nämlich nicht nur der Whistle-Blower, der Informant, die Quelle, die sich dem investigativen Journalisten oder Reporter öffnet, bestraft wird heute vor allem die Person, die die ihr anvertrauten Informationen veröffentlicht. In immer mehr Ländern dieser Erde wird der freie Journalist als Feind betrachtet. Als Feind der Propaganda …;

German Television Exposes Holocaust Lies, Historic Broadcast Shocks Germany, on Before It’s News, June 9, 2015;

… and this:

Comments are closed.