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40% of Pakistanis living below the poverty line

40% of Pakistanis living below the poverty line

February 16 2010


The spiraling prices of energy and food have had a very dire impact on poverty inPakistan during the past three years. The steep increase in prices of petroleum products, electricity and natural gas as well as food items, especially flour, sugar and meat, began in 2007, while the situation worsened in 2008 with an upswing in the head count poverty ratio for 2008-09.


The World Bank’s Task Force on Food Security had put the ratio at 29.2 percent in 2004-05, 33.8 percent in 2007-08 and 36.1 percent in 2008-09. By these estimates 62 million people (40%) of the country were placed Below the Poverty Line (BPL) in 2008-09.According to the new assessments, at least 20 million people might have joined the previous headcount of the BPL population.


According to the data, the increase in BPL population in the rural areas is more tragic as people lost their small holdings to inflation and overall expenditure per family unit increased by more than 20 percent in the past three years.


High food prices have undermined government efforts for poverty reduction as food price hikes severely eroded poor households’ purchasing power. This situation indicates a serious risk of massive school dropouts at primary levels while fresh enrolments would also be on the decline.

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