New Evidence on the Urbanization of Global Poverty



One-quarter of the world's consumption poor live in urban areas, and that proportion has been rising over time. Over 1993–2002, the count of the “$1 a day” poor fell by 150 million in rural areas but rose by 50 million in urban areas. The poor have been urbanizing even more rapidly than the population as a whole. By fostering economic growth, urbanization helped reduce absolute poverty in the aggregate. 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; in marked contrast to other regions, Africa's urbanization process has not been associated with falling overall poverty.