More than 400 million people in India left multidimensional poverty between 2005 and 2020

Views of slums on the shores of mumbai, India against the backdrop of skyscrapers under construction

by Peter Schulte

October 17, 2022 C.E.

According to a new report from the United Nations, the number of people in India considered poor fell by a whopping estimated 415 million between 2005 and 2020. This precipitous drop – likely a result of concerted investments in sanitation, nutrition, education, electricity, and more – means that now only 16% of Indians are experiencing poverty compared to over 50% in 2005.

Since 2010, the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford have released the annual Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) assessing over a hundred countries around the world against several different indicators spanning health, education, and standard of living. Of the 81 countries assessed this year with trend data available, the vast majority (72) showed a significant drop in poverty. However, India’s progress is perhaps the most impressive and was highlighted and hailed as a “historic change” by the UN in a press release.

While this is undoubtedly astonishingly positive and promising news, much work remains. Over 200 million Indians (and more than 95 million children) remain in poverty, more than any country in the world. Further, the 2022 MPI does not yet consider data from the last two years. According to UNDP, the COVID-19 pandemic may have pushed some back into poverty and set back alleviation efforts by up to a decade.

Still, the Index’s authors are hopeful that India’s great gains in poverty alleviation prove that similar gains are possible elsewhere around the world. They believe this news demonstrates that “the Sustainable Development Goal target 1.2 of reducing at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions by 2030 is possible to achieve — and at scale.”


Era: Today (2017 C.E. - 2024 C.E.)
Year: 2022 C.E.
Topic: Economic inequality and Poverty alleviation
Region: South Asia
Country: India
Actor Type: Nations