Global anti-poverty organizations, RESULTS and Uplift, have released the inaugural Global State of Ultra-Poverty (GSUP), the first-ever analysis devoted exclusively to “ultra-poverty,” the most severe forms of deprivation on the planet. The GSUP analysis finds that there are currently 394 million people living in “ultra-poverty,” most of whom are likely to be living the farthest from the extreme poverty line (set by the World Bank at USD 1.90/day). These households face a unique degree of economic and social isolation that has excluded them from most existing government and market-based extreme poverty-eradication efforts and kept them caught in an intergenerational poverty trap. Put more simply: these families are persistently hungry; their children are dying; they have no way to make a living; they have largely been overlooked in the movement to end poverty.
As the GSUP analysis shows, 80% of the world’s 394 million people living in ultra poverty are concentrated in just 14 countries in Africa and Asia, yet those 14 countries today receive merely 20% of official development assistance. Given that those in ultra poverty make up roughly half of the 767 million people that the World Bank calculates live in extreme poverty, the GSUP issues a crucial warning that the global community must act urgently across sectors to invert the status quo and place ultra-poverty at the head of poverty eradication efforts. Failing to do so will risk failure in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere, by 2030.