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About the project

The Christian Aid world map shows the progress of countries against a poverty scale.

The true nature of poverty is more complex than just a lack of income. Christian Aid believes that poverty is a lack of power, reflecting unequal power relationships within and among countries, and within and among groups and individuals. Poverty is disempowerment, and the injustices that result.

Justice to Poverty paper detailing our understanding of poverty

Data is not yet available to capture consistently each aspect of our definition of poverty. The map therefore relies on available indicators such as health, education and income to provide a limited proxy representation of poverty. Where possible, the poverty scale reflects the United Nations Development Programmes' human development index (HDI). This HDI is a weighted index of GDP per capita, life expectancy (as indicator of health), literacy rates and school enrolment rates (indicators of education).

Where UNDP data is not available, we have drawn from other sources including United Nations, World Bank development indicators, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Institute for Statistics, and Task Force on Higher Education and Society.

For all data pre-1950 we have had to use a GDP-per-capita measure (and not HDI), mostly based on the World Economy dataset. This is because sufficient country-by-country HDI data is not available.

The threshold point at which countries turn from grey (deep poverty) to orange is equal to the UNDP (2010) index for the highest ranking country in the 'Low Human Development' quartile (Kenya at 0.470). Of course, at this point there are still a great many people living in poverty but the intention is to show the pattern of progress in a visual way, rather than to suggest that there is no more to be done.

The 'most developed countries' are those countries that currently stand within the highest quartile of HDI. The 'least developed countries' are those which currently stand within the lowest quartile of HDI.

The map is intended to be a simple representation of poverty. We know that poverty is more complex, that it is experienced by people rather than countries and that around three quarters of those living on less than a dollar day do so in middle-income, rather than low-income, countries. More data is needed to understand fully the systematic inequalities that mean certain types of people in certain countries are much more likely to experience poverty than others, through no fault of their own.

More information on the construction of the development index

Poverty Over
This report sets out our belief that global poverty can be eradicated and invites you to join us in making that happen.

Poverty Over: we're all in this together
This report takes a look at the progress that has been made towards the Millennium Development Goals and highlights the MDGs' flawed understanding of poverty and their failure to address its causes.