Number Of Poor Nigerians Rises To 98 Million – Says UN

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has said that poverty has continued to ravage Nigeria with the number of poor citizens rising to a colossal 98 million, out of an estimated 180 million population.

New report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) states that the fearful figure is in spite of outdated data which made it difficult to track all the affected people across the country.

The UNDP report also indicated that the number of poor Nigerians have increased from 86 million to 98 million in the past 10 years. According to the report, income alone cannot be used to classify rich and poor people, noting that “the traditional concept of poverty is outdated”.

The UNDP then stated that from the 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), there are disparities in how people experience poverty, revealing vast inequalities among countries and among the poor themselves.

The report indicated that in Nigeria, the proportion of people who are multi-dimensionally poor has remained constant at just over 50 percent over the past decade (up to 2017) while the actual number of people who are multi-dimensionally poor at 98 million over the same period.

The report noted that when compared to the national poverty line which measures income/consumption, 51 percent of Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor than 46 percent of those their income is poor.

This report further shows that more than two-thirds of the multi-dimensionally poor which is 886 million people live in middle-income countries, while a further 440 million live in low-income countries.

“In both groups, data show, simple national averages can hide enormous inequality in patterns of poverty within countries.

For instance, in Nigeria, even though the national average shows that around 50 per cent of Nigeria are multi-dimensionally poor, state and local government levels will reveal a completely different scenario.

“There is even inequality under the same roof. In South Asia, for example, almost a quarter of children under five live in households where at least one child in the household is malnourished and at least one child is not,” the report read.

The UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner noted that “to fight poverty, one needs to know where poor people live. They are not evenly spread across a country, not even within a household”, he said.

“The 2019 global Multidimensional Poverty Index provides the detailed information policy makers need to more effectively target their policies,” he added.

Pedro Conceição, the Director of the Human Development Report Office at UNDP, also said: “We need even amongst those living in poverty to understand people’s different experiences of deprivation.

Are they malnourished? Can they go to school? Only then will poverty reduction policies be both efficient and effective.”

The report further showed that children suffer poverty more intensely than adults and are more likely to be deprived in all 10 of the MPI indicators, lacking essentials such as clean water, sanitation, adequate nutrition or primary education.

“Even more staggering, worldwide, one in three children is multi-dimensionally poor, compared to one in six adults.

That means that nearly half of the people living in multidimensional poverty—663 million—are children, with the youngest children bearing the greatest burden,” the report read.

“We looked at data for a group of 10 middle and low-income countries and we found encouraging news that the bottom 40 per cent are moving faster than the rest,” said Sabina Alkire, OPHI Director.

In the 10 countries, data showed that 270 million people moved out of multi-dimensional poverty from one survey to the next.

In India, there were 271 million fewer people in poverty in 2016 than in 2006, while in Bangladesh the number dropped by 19 million between 2004 and 2014.

In other countries there was less or no absolute reduction, with numbers of multi-dimensionally poor rising by 28 million across the three African countries considered.

In part this was because of rapid population growth, which outstripped reductions in poverty. In fact, poverty rates (as a percentage of the population) declined in most of the countries.

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