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Asians in extreme poverty reduced
Updated: 2005-08-30 16:08

Nearly 621 million residents in Asia and the Pacific region lived in extreme poverty in 2003, 300 million fewer than in 1990, according to a report issued on Tuesday by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The people in extreme impoverished conditions, or lived on less than one US dollar a day, account for 19.3 percent of developing Asia's population in 2003, the most recent year for which sufficient data is available to formulate estimates for the report, ADB said.

A 2002 estimate of one-dollar-a-day population of poverty was 688 million.

In 2003, there were 300 million fewer people living on less than one dollar a day in Asia and the Pacific than in 1990, ADB said.

It noted that much of the region's overall success in recent years is the result of a dramatic reduction in poverty in China.

China was responsible for almost 68 percent of the overall decline in the region, with 204 million fewer people in extreme poverty than in 1990, the Bank said.

The new estimates were announced Tuesday in ADB's Key Indicators 2005, an annual statistical compendium of economic, financial, and social indicators.

The estimates are based on calculations using local currencies converted on the basis of Purchasing Power Parity exchange rates.

The report notes that despite the impressive region-wide reduction in poverty, large disparities remain among countries.

It estimates that 1.85 billion people, or 57.4 percent of the region's population, lived on less than two US dollars a day in 2003.

"Rapid poverty reduction requires not only high rates of economic growth, but also that the benefits of this growth be distributed more equitably," said ADB's chief economist Ifzal Ali.

The ADB is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and Pacific region through pro-poor sustainable economic growth, social development, and good governance. Established in 1966, it is owned by 63 members, with 45 from the region.

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