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The Urbanization of Global Poverty

Sponsors: Thematic Group on Poverty Impact Analysis, Monitoring and Evaluation
Presenter: Martin Ravallion
When: Tuesday, March 13, 12:30 - 2:00pm

Martin Ravallion, Shaohua Chen, and Prem Sangraula find that one-quarter of the world’s consumption poor live in urban areas and that the proportion has been rising over time. Urbanization helped reduce absolute poverty in the aggregate but did little for urban poverty reduction; thus the poor have been urbanizing even more rapidly than the population as a whole. The rural sector accounted for the bulk of overall poverty reduction. Looking forward, the recent pace of urbanization and current forecasts for urban population growth imply that a majority of the poor will live in rural areas for many decades to come. There are marked regional differences: Latin America has the most urbanized poverty problem, East Asia has the least; there has been a “ruralization” of poverty in Eastern Europe and Central Asia; unlike other regions, Africa’s urbanization process has not been associated with falling overall poverty.

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