[OPE-L:6254] Poverty line

From: Geert REUTEN (reuten@fee.uva.nl)
Date: Mon Dec 24 2001 - 12:17:01 EST

I have been reading in the UNDP "Human Development Report 2001"
The previous report I read was that of 1999, so my question below may in
fact apply (also) to the 2000 Report.

For its definition of the "poverty line" for  "developed" (rich) countries
the UNDP adopts the US definition. In 1999 (and 2000?) this was fixed at
$14.40 a day. (For other rich countries this amount is calibrated on the
basis of Purchasing Power Parity (PPS).)
In the 2001 Report the poverty line has been reduced to $11 a day! The
argument is that the US now adopts the $11 poverty line.

For your information: the 1999 Report provides the figure of 14.2% of the
US population under the poverty line. In the 2001 Report this is 14% (i.e.
at $11; at $14.40 it would obviously have been much higher). The UK, e.g.,
does worse even for the new line: at $14.40 in the 1999 report some 13.7%
of the population was below; at $11 in the 2001 report 16%.

Now my questions:
1. Has there been public discussion in the US about the poverty line
2. Does anybody know if there has been resistance within the UNDP of
adopting the adapted US line?
3. Does anybody know about statistics maintaining the previous line?

Finally, as a Christmas statistic I can inform you that the USA provides
development aid amounting to $33 per US head per year (the year 1999). The
average for all (about 25) rich countries together for 1999 is no more than
$66 per head. [In 1990 this figure was $55 for the USA and $72 for the rich
countries on average. "Top" aid is by Denmark, moving from $248 per head in
1990 to $331 per head in 1999.]
On the other side of the balance this means that developing countries
receive aid of on average $8.30 per head per year (1999).


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