Global Absolute Poverty: The Beginning of the End?

20 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2020

See all articles by Sanjay G. Reddy

Sanjay G. Reddy

The New School - Department of Economics

Date Written: February 10, 2020


The first Sustainable Development Goal of “Ending poverty in all its forms everywhere” must be interpreted in light of an understanding of what poverty in all its forms means societally, and cannot be reduced only to a narrowly technical understanding, even that promoted by official institutions and bodies (the SDG targets and indicators). There are reasons for concern that the official indicators are unsatisfactory, and that there is a considerable gap between the external or societal and the internal or technical understandings of poverty. Considering a range of alternative poverty lines, while otherwise broadly conforming to current approaches to global income poverty estimation, demonstrates that the poverty identification criteria can significantly influence the conclusions drawn about suitable priorities and policies. While poverty is expected to be nearly “eliminated” in regions other than Sub-Saharan Africa at the lowest poverty lines, this is not only not true at higher poverty lines, but the regional composition of the world’s poor changes greatly. The extent to which the world economy provides a suitable environment for growth in developing countries will be crucial to determining the extent of poverty reduction before 2030.

Keywords: Poverty, Income Poverty, Global Poverty, $1.90, Sdg 1, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, Sustainable Development Goals

Suggested Citation

Reddy, Sanjay G., Global Absolute Poverty: The Beginning of the End? (February 10, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Sanjay G. Reddy (Contact Author)

The New School - Department of Economics ( email )

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