Two world regions are home to almost four-fifths of the people in the global poorest 20%: South Asia (43%) and sub-Saharan Africa (35%). Three populous countries – India, China and Nigeria – are home to more than half of the people in the poorest 20%.
People in the global poorest 20% are mostly in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
Around 441 million people, a third of those in the global poorest 20%, live in countries defined by the UN as being least developed countries (LDCs). But looking at depth of poverty – how far below the poverty line the incomes of poor people are – tells a very different story for LDCs.
On the World Bank’s measure of poverty depth, 19 of the 20 countries with the deepest poverty gaps are LDCs (Nigeria being the only non-LDC). By contrast, none of the 50 countries with the shallowest poverty gaps are LDCs.**
Of people living in the poorest 20% globally, LDCs tend to have the deepest poverty levels
Looking at a selection of countries illustrates how variable poverty depths are across them. Poverty depths range from 55% in Madagascar to much lower levels of 9% in India and 2% in China, to just 0.1% in Turkey, although even in these countries poverty may still be concentrated in particular states.
Average incomes of the poorest 20% of people globally vary substantially between countries
For more information see our factsheet on the poorest 20% of people globally, and from April 2015 detailed data will be available from DI’s Development Data Hub.