The authors assess the developing world's progress in reducing absolute-consumption poverty during 1981-91, using new data on the distribution of household consumption or income per capita for 40 countries (at two points in time for 18 of the countries). They apply dominance tests to the distributions after adjustment to purchasing-power parity. They find that the incidence of aggregate poverty changed little. The number of poor increased at the rate of population growth. The region with the greatest aggregate poverty is either South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa, depending on the poverty line used. The experience was diverse across regions and countries. The only regions with falling poverty measures are South and East Asia.
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