Bangladesh poverty assessment (Assessing a decade of progress in Reducing Poverty 2000-2010)

The World Bank Bangladesh Development Series (Paper No. 31)

Throughout the 2000-2010 decade, Bangladesh experienced steady and strong GDP growth of nearly 6  percent per year on average. During this period, poverty rates also demonstrated an impressive steady  improvement, falling by about 1.7 percentage points per year. Using data from the Household Income  and Expenditure Survey (HIES), a joint product of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics and the World  Bank, this report shows that, while 49 percent of Bangladeshis were poor in 2000, this percentage had  dropped to 31.5 by 2010. In addition, Bangladesh also achieved better health outcomes, improved living  conditions for the poor, lower childhood mortality, increased under-five vaccination rates for all children,  increased literacy rates, and improved safety net coverage. These are impressive achievements.
The analysis of the 2000-2010 period presented in this report finds that poverty reduction was closely linked to growth in labor income and demographic changes. It also shows that the sources of income growth varied significantly between the first and the second halves of the 2000-2010 decade. Differential rates of poverty reduction along an "East-West Divide" characterized the first half (World Bank 2008a), but regional differences were significantly reduced in the second half. Nevertheless, while overall improvement in wellbeing was strong across all regions, poverty continues to be a substantial and stubborn problem in Bangladesh, where about 47 million people still live in poverty and 26 million people in extreme poverty. Moreover, poverty in rural areas continues to be relatively more pervasive and extreme than in urban areas, whereas urban areas remain relatively more unequal. Overall, the report's findings suggest that sustained poverty reduction moving forward will require coordinated multi-sectoral action. To maintain steady growth in jobs, it will be necessary to promote investments to raise agricultural productivity and also to promote growth in the demand for salaried work in manufacturing and services (e.g., through improving infrastructure, supporting entrepreneurship by promoting the rule of law, and strengthening the transparency and accountability of both the public and private sectors). With regard to demographic changes, a "demographic opportunity" will be realized only i r there are policies in place to harness it. Thus, Bangladesh will need both to cater more aggressively to 1 he needs of the growing youth cohorts in the coming years and to begin preparations for aging-out of the demographic dividend. Lastly, Bangladesh can make better use of social safety net coverage and human .apital formation to sustain poverty reduction. There remains much potential for improving the linkage I> 'I ween safety nets and poverty reduction through improved design, targeting and timing of safety net responses. In addition, education remains a key pathway to breaking free from the intergenerational rrnnsrnission of poverty, and there is similarly substantial scope for improving the quality of, and .xpanding access to, schooling. A continuation of the policies and programs that have proven successful, i ombined with improving safety nets and placing more emphasis on skills development and child nutrition, Gould prove a powerful formula for increasing human capital and further poverty reduction in III • future.

Date and language
Jun 2013

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Agris Subject Categories: 
Development economics and policies
Physical Location: 
FPMU Documentation Center
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