POVERTY AND BANGLADESH
Millennium Development Goal
ERADICATE EXTREME POVERTY AND HUNGER
Bangladesh has made reasonably good progress in its effort at reducing poverty. The decline in poverty was more rapid in the 1990s than during earlier decades. Poverty reduction in the first half of the current decade was also somewhat faster than in the 1990s. During the 9 years between 1991-92 and 2000, the poverty head-count ratio in Bangladesh fell by 9 percent – an annual rate of decline of one percentage point. Between 1999 and 2004, the poverty head-count ratio fell by 5.3 percent (from 46.2% to 40.9%), depicting an annual rate of decline of 1.06 percent (BBS, 2004).
The reduction of poverty in the most recent times has been possible mainly because of a steady rate of economic growth. During the last decade, the economy grew consistently at around 5 percent a year. The growth rate reached a peak of 6.3% in 2002-03. For a sustained reduction of poverty, there is in fact no alternative to growth, which, therefore, is currently the government’s top priority.
Target 1: Halve, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than one dollar per day
Bangladesh has successfully achieved significant reduction in poverty since 1990. According to source of United Nation; national poverty headcounts declined from 56.6 percent in 1991-92 to 31.5 percent in 2010. The percentage of population under the lower poverty line, the threshold for extreme poverty, fell by 26.9 percent from 25 percent of the population in 2005 to 17.6 percent in 2010. The fall in poverty headcount rates was significantly more than the population growth during 2005-2010 leading to the decline in number of poor people. Real per capita consumption expenditure during 2005-2010 increased at an average annual rate of 16.9 percent with a higher increase in rural areas with compared to urban areas.
The sustained growth has been accompanied by corresponding improvement in several social indices in country such as increased life expectancy and lower fertile rate despite having the world’s highest population growth.
Poverty Gap Ratio:
Poverty gap ratio is the mean distance separating the population from the poverty line, expressed as a percentage of the poverty line. The poverty gap ratio is an indicator that measures the depth of poverty.
As per studies, poverty gap ratio in declination in Bangladesh is dramatic. Trends in the poverty gap show a drop from 17.20 in 1991-92 to 12.9 in 2000 and 9.00 in 2005 and finally 6.5 in 2010. Thus, the target of making the poverty gap half has already achieved which was due in 2015.
It is also worth noticing that poverty gap declined relatively more rapidly than the poverty headcount.
Target 2: Achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all
As per data from World Bank the GDP per person employed in Bangladesh was $3,722 in 2008 with a growth rate of 3.76 percent.
Employment to Population Ratio:
In Bangladesh the share of manufacturing sector in GDP has increased, while that of agriculture was declined. However, the service sector maintains the same level of contribution to GDP.
The reported unemployment in Bangladesh is low. The inclusion of the informal sector in the formal sector and subsequent slow employment generation in related sector remains challenge in Bangladesh. Overseas migration and remittances from 7 million expatriate Bangladeshis contribute directly to improvements in the Financial and development status of migrants’ families and communities.
Target 3: To reduce the proportion of people by half who suffer from hunger between 1990 and 2015
Nearly two-third of Bangladeshis Children were underweight in 1990 and less than half were underweight in 2009. Underweight prevalence rate fell sharply between 1992 and 2000. There were many reasons behind this declination which includes increased literacy of women, reduction of fertility rate, enhanced vaccination coverage, smaller family size, spread of vitamin A etc. Despite the above mentioned progress, Bangladesh in all likelihood may not meet its targets of halving the proportion of the population below the minimum level of dietary energy consumption by 2015.
Regional disparities exist in the proportion of the population with less than 2122kcals/day. More recently the Bangladesh household Food Security Nutrition Assessment 2008-2009 reported that population living in Barisal and Rajshahi division had worse food consumption scores in comparison with other divisions. The survey also found that female headed household and household in rural areas are food insecure compared to their respective counterpart.
- Despite the linkage between poverty, hunger and employment. The progress towards hunger and employment related MDG targets have not been as encouraging as poverty.
- The lack of diversity in Bangladesh food crop sector also poses a challenge and more emphasis on the production of non cereal crops.
- Extreme poverty that exists in small pockets poses specific challenges, which need to be addressed.
- Ensuring food security to different group of poor such as extreme poor people and potential poor refugees.
- A major concern in the country is the persuasive underemployment which has prevented meeting MGD-1. The challenge is to ensure economic growth that is “Pro-Poor” and that can lead to more job, better employment and household income.