Most of these poor are in developing countries of the world. Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest numbers of persons living below the poverty line.
According to the World Bank, studies by Bhalla (2002) and Sala-i-Martin (2002) claim that the "number of people living in extreme poverty has fallen more sharply than as indicated by World Bank estimates". The duo suggests that first World Bank's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the poverty rate by 2015 had in fact reached in 2000. In contrast other studies have stated that there has been no such decline as claimed by the World Bank. Reddy and Pogge (2002) and Wade (2002), in their assessment states that "the rate of decline in poverty is overstated by World Bank estimates."
These varying views are based on the various definitions or just understanding of what global poverty really is. The methods of measuring and assessing poverty data around the world also contributes to this differing school of thoughts.
According to the World Bank (2008a) the world's population living under extreme poverty dropped from 28 percent to 21 percent from 1990 to 2001 in developing countries around the world. The regions of East and South Asia witnessed most of the decline. In East Asia, the rate of poverty is said to have only dropped from 69 percent to 27 percent from 1990 to 2006.
The same report suggests that the situation in Sub-Saharan Africa got worse as the number of people living under extreme poverty jumped from 231 million people in 1981 to 318 million in 2001, a 5 percent increase over 10 year period. Other regions of the world have not had dramatic changes in their poverty statistics.
The economies of Eastern Europe and Central Asia which experienced a sharp drop in income in the early 1990's have seen poverty rates begin to decline after a nearly 6 percent at the beginning of the decade. The number of people who out of extreme poverty in Eastern Europe is estimated at about 40 million during the period between 1998-2003.
Causes of Poverty
Why are there so many persons living in hardship and poverty Many differing factors have been cited. Amongst them are man-made problems, but others are complex as they get. Some of the possible factors include but are not limited to the following:
(a) Environmental Factors
i. Natural factors: to a measurable extent climate change and has been identified as a cause of poverty. Natural disasters like hurricanes, tropical storms and floods can all cause poverty (Guardian, 2007).
ii. Deforestation: this has been the leading cause of poverty in rural China. The practice which became prominent in the early 20th century is attributed to non-sustainable tree harvesting (Menzies "n.d").
iii. Geographic factors: these factors range from the availability of fertile land, fresh water, and the micro and macro soil minerals. Other factors include proximity to rivers, streams, mountains, or deserts. Historically, because of their location, the uses of new technology to areas like central Americas and Sub-Saharan Africa has been hampered. The climate of a region is also very relevant to the types of crops and animals that may be used on lands (Diamond, 1999).
iv. Erosion: due to natural or human action can lead to exhaustion of the soil, therefore reducing its fertility and