Poverty Rate in India Statistics 2021-2022 | Poorest State in India

Poverty Rate in India Statistics 2021-2022 | Poorest State in India

Poverty is an issue that affects billions of people around the world, yet most of us are familiar with very few examples of what poverty actually looks like. One nation where poverty has been particularly pervasive in recent years is India, but the country has made great strides in reducing its overall poverty level in recent years and continues to be a developing country to watch closely in the coming years. For more information on the types of poverty found in India, what they look like, and how they’re affecting the nation as a whole, read on to learn all about poverty in India.

India is one of the world’s fastest growing major economy. According to International Monetary Fund (IMF), at the growth rate of 11.5%, India is going to be the fastest growing economy in 2021. The world’s only country to register a double-digit growth in 2021.

But the sudden outbreak of the novel coronavirus in early 2020 pushed many into poverty in India. It is estimated that 150-199 million additional people will fall into poverty at the end of 2021. Due to the pandemic, there were job cuts on a large-scale. The poverty rate of India is set to rise. According to the CMIE report, around 7 million jobs were lost in a year. The consumption expenditure has come down and the public spending on development was sluggish. So, poverty in India is expected to rise in the coming days. The world’s largest economy also has one of its largest rates of child poverty.

India has more than halved its number of severely poor individuals, according to a World Bank working paper issued in the month of April 2022. Between 2011 and 2019, people earned less than $1.9 per day on a purchasing power parity basis. The report says “Within a decade, India may lift the final 10% of its population out of extreme poverty”.

According to an IMF research, India had nearly eradicated extreme poverty by 2020-21 when food subsidies are considered in.

What is Poverty?

Poverty in India can seem like an intractable problem—but it doesn’t have to be! The government has taken many steps to make life better for the citizens of India, but despite these efforts, poverty still remains a serious problem. Let’s discusses what is meant by poverty.

Poverty‘ is a situation in which a person couldn’t fulfil his basic needs like food, home, clothes, drinking water. Hence, he is considered to be living in poverty.

According to Niti Aayog, 25% of the Population in India are Poor. Every fourth person of the total population of India is in poverty.

In the Global MPI 2021 ranking, India is at 66 out of 109 other countries.

What is Poverty Rate?

Poverty rate means economic and social conditions characterized by severe deprivation of basic human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health care and education.

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Niti Aayog’s First Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Report 2021

According to Niti Aayog’s first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report released in November 2021, the National MPI score of India is 0.118. In Urban areas, the MPI score is 0.08 and rural it is 0.155.

Kerala has turn out to be the state with the lowest rate of poverty in India. As per the index, only 0.71 per cent population of Kerala is poor. Kottayam of Kerala is the only district in India without poverty. This district has registered a zero in the recently released poverty index.

States like Bihar, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh have registered the highest poverty rate across India. These states have emerged as the ‘poorest states’ in India. 51.91% of the population in Bihar classified as poor, followed by Jharkhand (42.16%) and Uttar Pradesh (37.79%).

India’s first-ever national MPI measure is based on utilizing 12 key indicators like nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, antenatal care, years of schooling, school attendance etc. which cover areas such as health and nutrition, education and standard of living.

Poverty in India

No matter how fast India’s economy grows, poverty remains one of the country’s biggest challenges. It is often difficult to pinpoint the number of people who live in poverty in India because many live in remote areas and are not counted as part of the national census.

In order to understand what it means to be poor in India, we need to start by defining what poverty actually is. The United Nations classifies a person as poor if he or she has an income of less than $1 per day and struggles with meeting basic needs such as clothing, food, healthcare and shelter—especially considering these conditions are likely to remain unchanged for years or even generations. As such, an important part of fighting extreme poverty is putting these very basic needs within reach.

India is no longer the country with the most extreme poverty, states the Brookings report. In the global poverty ranking, India is sliding down. As per the real-time data from World Poverty Clock, 7% of the Indian population are living in extreme poverty and 0.6 Indians are escaping extreme poverty every minute.

Indian government’s spending on rural welfare schemes was helping in a big way to reduce national poverty. By 2030, the target of government is to eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day.

Meaning of Extreme Poverty

Extreme Poverty means individuals who are without income, home, health, or food twice a day. Also, people who are bedridden, no facility to make and eat food, having debts due to health ailments comes under the list of extreme poor category.

India Poverty Statistics 2021

Total Population1,392,506,368
People living in extreme poverty97,697,747
Males44,806,455
Females52,891,292

According to World Poverty Clock, the number of people who are living in poverty is 97,697,747 (97.7 million) or roughly 6% of the population. There are 44,806,455 males and 52,891,292 females impacted by poverty in India. Females are more affected than males.

Poverty in India – Age Groups

Age GroupsNo. of People
0-411,216,926
5-912,103,639
10-1413,480,409
15-1910,182,310
20-245,211,873
25-293,800,309
30-346,986,947
35-398,220,823
40-445,045,245
45-491,785,554
50-54822,463
55-591,049,636
60-645,527,405
65-694,234,187
70-743,799,953
75+4,230,068

The age group from 0-19 are the most affected by extreme poverty. This can lead the youngsters to malnutrition and illiteracy. We can see a decreasing trend after the age of 40.

Prosperous State of India

Below are the Indian states with Low Poverty.

  • Kerala
  • Goa
  • Sikkim
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Punjab

Kerala has the lowest rate of poverty in India, with only 0.71% of the population classified poor. Kerala is followed by states like Goa (3.76%), Sikkim (3.82%), Tamil Nadu (4.89%) and Punjab (5.59%).

Poorest State in India

Below are the Poorest Indian states with High Poverty.

  • Bihar
  • Jharkhand
  • Uttar Pradesh
  • Madhya Pradesh
  • Meghalaya

Bihar is the Poorest State in India. As per NITI Aayog Multidimensional Poverty Index report, the states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Meghalaya have turn out to be the ‘poorest states’ in India. 51.91% of the population in Bihar classified as poor, followed by Jharkhand (42.16%), Uttar Pradesh (37.79%), Madhya Pradesh (36.65%) and both Meghalaya & Assam (32.67%)

Poverty in India State wise

AreaMultidimensional Poverty Index Score
Andaman & Nicobar Islands4.30
Andhra Pradesh12.31
Arunachal Pradesh24.27
Assam32.67
Bihar51.91
Chandigarh21.81
Chhattisgarh29.91
Dadra and Nagar Haveli27.36
Daman and Diu6.82
Delhi4.79
Goa3.76
Gujarat18.60
Haryana12.28
Himachal Pradesh7.62
Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh12.58
Jharkhand42.16
Karnataka13.16
Kerala0.79
Lakshadweep1.82
Madhya Pradesh36.65
Maharashtra14.85
Manipur17.89
Meghalaya32.67
Mizoram9.80
Nagaland25.23
Odisha29.35
Puducherry1.72
Punjab5.59
Rajasthan29.46
Sikkim3.82
Tamil Nadu4.89
Telangana13.74
Tripura16.65
Uttar Pradesh37.79
Uttarakhand17.72
West Bengal21.43

Measuring Poverty in India

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index – India

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index was launched in 2010 by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). Each year, it measures the complexities of poor people’s lives, individually and collectively and focuses how the multidimensional poverty has declined. India is among the four countries to have halved their MPI value. During the period from 2006 to 2016, India had the biggest reduction in the number of multidimensionally poor people. 273 million of them moved out of this poverty in over 10 years time.

The MPI is a measure of multidimensional poverty covering more than 100 developing countries. It tracks deprivation across three dimensions and 10 indicators as indicted below:

  • Education, where years of schooling and child enrolment comes into effect (1/6 weightage each, total 2/6);
  • Health, the child mortality and nutrition comes into this (1/6 weightage each, total 2/6);
  • Standard of living, includes electricity, flooring, drinking water, sanitation, cooking fuel and assets

Global MPI 2020 Report indicates that India is 62nd among 107 countries with an MPI score of 0.123 and 27.9% population identified as multi-dimensionally poor, the number was 36.8% for rural and 9.2% for urban India. There were wide variations across states.

What is Poverty Line?

Poverty Line‘ is a method to find the poverty of a person based on his income and consumption level.

Poverty Line in India

The poverty line of India in Rural areas is Rs. 972 and Urban area, it is Rs. 1407
Those who earn above this level is considered as ‘Not poor’ and come under ‘Above the Poverty Line’ and those who earn below this level is considered as ‘Poor’ and they are ‘Below the Poverty Line‘.

Every 5 years, sample surveys are conducted by NSSO (National Sample Survey Organization) to estimate the poverty line of India.

Official Release of Poverty Line Estimates

The Planning Commission used to release the estimates of poverty as number of persons below poverty line as a percentage of Indian population. This was followed for the years 1973-74, 1977-78, 1983, 1987-88, 1993-94, 1999-2000, 2004- 05, 2009-10 and 2011-12.
For 2011-12, the Planning Commission released poverty data in July 2013, based on the Tendulkar poverty line.

Poverty Percentage in India

  • According to Global MPI Reports 2019 and 2020, 21.9% of the population was poor in the country or the number of poor was pegged at 269.8 million
  • According to World Poverty Clock in 2021, roughly 6% or 86,799,498 (86.8 million) of the population are living in poverty.

World Bank Poverty Line

The World Bank Poverty Line defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 a day, measured in 2011 purchasing power parity prices.
As an alternative way of measuring the poverty of people, World Bank developed the ‘poverty gap index’ that measures the intensity of poverty, by calculating the amount of money required by a household in order to reach the poverty line. That means, it calculates the income or consumption shortfall from the poverty line.

International Poverty Line

According to the World Bank collection of development indicators, the Poverty gap for India is reported at 4.3% in 2011 down from 20% in 1977.

World Poverty Clock (WPC)

World Poverty Clock is a systematic analytical framework to measure progress towards SDGs by World Data Lab. It is a global model that tracks real-time poverty estimates until 2030 for every country in the world. Here publicly available data on income distribution, production and consumption are used, and they bridge the common decade gaps between large-scale surveys and censuses.
The percentage of the world’s population living below the extreme poverty line has reduced from 36% to 10% in 2015 for the last quarter-century according to World Poverty Clock. That means a reduction from about 1.9 billion people living in extreme poverty to about 736 million in 2015.

Causes of Poverty in India

There are many Causes for Poverty in India

  • Famines
  • Malnutrition
  • Illiteracy
  • Unemployment due to the rapid growth of population
  • Low level of economic development
  • Unequal distribution of resources and land
  • Improper implementation of various welfare policies
  • Farmers unable to repay the loan they borrowed

In a country as wealthy as India, why does one fourth of its population live below the national poverty line? The causes are complex, including exploitation by local landlords and colonial-era policies that still affect current living conditions. There are also cultural factors like caste-based discrimination that make it difficult for lower-class Indians to escape their economic situation. But what does it mean to be poor in India today, and how is it different from being poor 20 years ago? Here we examine some key features of Indian poverty—the role played by caste and religion, government response to poverty, gender issues and a growing problem with urbanization—and lays out potential solutions going forward.

Poverty Alleviation Programs in India

Poverty in India is an ever-present problem that has endured throughout the country’s history, and unfortunately it seems that it will continue to be a problem as long as income inequality continues to exist and the percentage of the population living below the poverty line remains so high. Although there are some schemes that have been put in place to help alleviate poverty, there will always be those who struggle due to lack of access to resources and opportunities. People may also stay trapped in poverty because it has become too risky to move up to better jobs; they often do not have money to buy equipment and supplies, pay school fees for their children or start small businesses like shops that would allow them to produce things with more value so that they can earn higher incomes. With a huge population and limited resources, poverty alleviation in India has been a slow, yet persistent process. Successive governments have tried to stem rural-urban migration through pro-rural policies aimed at improving living conditions and employment opportunities, but millions still live below their means

After the independence, the Indian government initiated many welfare schemes like subsidizing food through ration cards, increased access to loans, promoting education, improving agricultural methods and family planning. These measures helped greatly to eradicate poverty by eliminating famines, malnutrition, illiteracy and unemployment.
A record decline in poverty by more than half is only since 1991 after India’s rapid economic growth.

Promotion of economical growth.
Increasing the anti-poverty programmes like MGNREGA, which was started in the year 2005, aims to provide a minimum of 100 days of wage employment to every household. Ministry of Rural Development’s programmes like NRLM, PMAY, DDUGKY focused on alleviating the poverty of Indian households.

India’s dominant economic growth over the last 30 years continued to pull millions of people out of poverty. Obviously, due to the unexpected impact of COVID-19, India will also be experiencing a likely spike in its poverty rate. Moving forward, the elimination of poverty in India over the next decade is within reach in spite of challenges ahead.

(Source: Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)- UNDP,
International Monetary Fund,
World Poverty Clock,
Niti Aayog’s SDG India Index)

Disclaimer: The data research report we present here is based on information found from various sources on the internet. We are not liable for any financial loss, errors, or damages of any kind that may result from the use of the information herein. We acknowledge that though we try to report accurately, we cannot verify the absolute facts of everything that has been represented.