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Living Conditions Monitoring Survey

His findings show that GDP growth has led, on average, to income growth in many parts of the world. That’s been a major driving force behind poverty reduction.

“Most developing countries have done well,” Fosu said. “There has been significant progress on poverty reduction.”

Most countries have reached Millennium Development Goal 1, which aimed to cut poverty in half by the year 2015. But it’s also clear that growth hasn’t translated into poverty reduction as well in some places as it has in others. Fosu notes the contrasting examples of China and India. Both have seen considerable growth. In China, economic growth has led directly to income growth and poverty reduction as a labor-intensive economy put more people to work. In India, the situation hasn’t worked out as well for the poor. While the economy has grown, incomes have remained low for many.

“Amongst 80 countries, China ranks in the top decile in terms of GDP growth and also income growth,” Fosu said. “On the other hand, in India, it’s quite different. Even though India ranks in one of the top two deciles in GDP growth, when it comes to income growth, it drops all the way to the 7thdecile.”

On the whole, although African countries have also experienced significant poverty reduction since the mid-1990s, they haven’t fared as well as countries in Central or South Asia, he says. First, African countries’ growth has not been as strong. And, second, in many cases, even when growth was considerable, poverty reduction was not as high, due in large part to high initial inequality and/or low incomes.