UNFPAState of World Population 2002
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(Not for release before 3 December 2002)

Multiple Dimensions of Poverty
Macroeconomics, Poverty, Population and Development
Poverty and Gender
Poor Health and Poverty
HIV/AIDS and Poverty
Poverty and Education
Population, Poverty and Global Development Goals: The Way Ahead

Multiple Dimensions of Poverty

Income is not the only measurement of poverty, and economic growth alone will not end poverty. Escaping poverty depends on improving personal capacities and increasing access to resources, institutions and support.

The overall gap between rich and poor, globally and within countries, has been growing. The difference in per capita income between the world’s wealthiest 20 per cent and the poorest 20 per cent grew from 30 to 1 in 1960, to 78 to 1 in 1994. It fell slightly to 74 to 1 in 1999.

Poor health, illiteracy, inadequate schooling, social exclu-sion, powerlessness and gender discrimination contribute to poverty. Poor health diminishes personal capacity, lowers productivity and reduces earnings. A high prevalence of disease and poor health in a country harms economic perfor-mance while higher life expectancy, a key indicator of health status, stimulates economic growth. An analysis of 53 countries between 1953 and 1990 found that higher adult survival rates were responsible for about 8 per cent of total economic growth.

Progress has been achieved easier and faster in countries that have provided reproductive health services, including family planning, increased the coverage and quality of education, advanced gender equality, and developed responsible and accountable systems of governance and social participation.

A judicious combination of income-based, indicator-based, and participatory-based information should be used to assess poverty and derive policy implications. Institutions should have incentives to use this information for planning purposes.

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