Poverty

DSC03870_MayasariDespite decades of worldwide attention to poverty eradication, tens of millions of people still live in extreme poverty, and many more must struggle to meet their family’s needs. Although economic growth and macroeconomic stability are essential for poverty reduction, they must be accompanied by the creation and continued support of social protection policies that ensure the economic security of all segments of the population. Beyond income, according to the International Labor Organization only one in five people in the world has adequate social security coverage.

The WORLD Policy Analysis Center has developed a globally comparative, quantitatively comparable database on poverty reduction policies worldwide through a systematic review of legislation and other sources. In light of the evidence surrounding the importance of policies addressing poverty, the maps in this section present data that aim to provide an overview of countries’ poverty reduction policies, and consequently, on the prospects that people living in such countries are likely to face as a result.

Topics covered include:

Minimum Wage

  • Minimum wage adjustment mechanism*
  • Enforcement methods and penalties*

Income Protection during Unemployment

Cash Benefits for Families

Income Protection for Disability or Work Injury

  • Availability of benefits for people with disabilities*
  • Availability of benefits for workers who are injured*

Income Protection during Old Age

*Note: Data for starred sub-topics is forthcoming.

In low- and middle-income countries, nearly half of the population lives on less than $2.00 per day. Millions of people lack access to nutrition, clean water, shelter and decent healthcare. Children living in poverty are less likely to attend school and more likely to work to support their family. Poor children are more likely to die young than their richer counterparts, and those that survive have worse health outcomes throughout the life course. Efforts to reduce poverty are essential to the achievement of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) (1989), which asserts in Article 27 that children have the right to “a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.”

Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) states “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) (1966) recognizes the right of everyone to “just and favourable conditions of work” in Article 7, including “(a) Remuneration which provides all workers, as a minimum, with: (ii) A decent living for themselves and their families in accordance with the provisions of the present Covenant.” Article 11 also recognizes the “right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for himself and his family.”

Ensuring adequate parental income through minimum wage legislation and replacing income during periods of unemployment are two types of policies that can increase and protect the incomes of poor families. Further, a wealth of evidence shows that family benefits, in the form of direct financial benefits, reduce poverty levels for low-income children and families. Furthermore, according to Part III of ICESCR, countries are expected to ensure “the right to family benefits.” In Article 11 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979), countries are also expected to “take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the field of employment in order to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, the same rights.”