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Regional Disparities Still Exist

In the last decades of the twentieth century, according to the World Bank (2001), living standards improved all over the world. The proportion of the developing world's population living in extreme economic poverty—defined as living on less than $1 per day (in 1993 dollars, adjusted to account for difference in purchasing power across countries)—fell from 28 percent in 1987 to 23 percent in 1998. Improvement in social indicators accompanied growth in average incomes. Infant mortality rates fell; growth occurred in food production; governments reported rapid progress in primary school enrollment; adult literacy rose; gender disparities also narrowed.

In some countries, the increasing poor population overshadowed the improvement in social indicators. Poverty continued to rise in Sub-Saharan Africa. Child mortality rose quickly because of the AIDS epidemic. On average, 151 of every 1,000 African children died before the age of five. Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, and Niger have fewer than half of their children enrolled in primary school.

In South Asia, it is estimated that four in ten households (more than 500 million people) remained in poverty. Countries such as India made tremendous positive strides in educating their poor women. Gender disparities still existed in education. Female disadvantage in education remained large in Western and Central Africa, North Africa, and South Asia (World Bank web site).


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Other Resources

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Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaOther Marriage & Family TopicsPoverty - Definition Of Poverty, Global Poverty, Measuring Poverty, Welfare Response, Categories Of Dependence, Weakened Families And Kinship Systems