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7 Things You Need To Know About Poverty in Pakistan


Safa Ali


Pakistan's continually increasing population is facing a poverty crisis due to uneven income and wealth distribution. The current population is estimated to be around 225 million as of the World Bank in 2021 and is steadily growing at a rate of 1.85%. 


 Poverty refers to a state where individuals lack the wealth or income to access basic needs, including food, clothing, and shelter. Among thirteen Asian countries, Pakistan ranks eighth in poverty, just below Afghanistan, Yemen, and Syria. 


Here are seven simple but significant facts that you should know about poverty in Pakistan.


  1. As of 2022, Pakistan ranked 161st out of 189 countries on the HDI (Human Development Index). Pakistan’s life expectancy is 66.1 years, and the average person is enrolled in schooling for only eight years. The gross per capita national income is $4,624.

  2. 24.3% of the population lives below the poverty line. That’s around 55 million people. To put that into perspective, the population of England is currently about 56 million. There is a significant gap in wealth distribution in Pakistan, with the top 10% of the wealth bracket earning 27.6% of the country’s wealth and the bottom 10% only making 4.1%.

  3. The rate of infant mortality is 88 in 1000. Sixty-five of those children die before the age of five due to starvation, malnourishment, and disease.

  4. There are estimated to be some 1.2 million “street children.” This refers to homeless children, beggars, and scavengers who are often young. A lack of law and order worsens the problem; many children are vulnerable to STDs, such as HIV and AIDs, and other diseases.

  5. Gender discrimination shapes the distribution of poverty—for instance, the gaps in literacy rates. The rate of female literacy is 71.8% in comparison to 82.5% of men being literate. 


  1. Despite its high poverty rates, Pakistan has the second lowest headcount poverty rate in South Asia. Between 2001 and 2018, 47 million Pakistanis escaped poverty as a result of the increase in economic opportunities and increased migration.

  2. Natural disasters have impacted the state of poverty. The heavy monsoon rains of June 2022 significantly damaged flooding, as 15% of the country was underwater. Two million houses were damaged or destroyed, and 33 million people were affected by the societal and economic impacts of the flood. 


While the Pakistani economy has slowly been improving, the wealth gaps are still significant, meaning that many people in poverty are still stuck in poor conditions. However, there s work that can be done to help the situation. For instance, the World Food Programme appeal for donations to provide meals for families, and Islamic Relief has an emergency appeal dedicated to aiding those affected by the flooding. 


By supporting organizations dedicated to fighting poverty, the end of poverty can be reached, and a better future can be created for those facing impoverishment. 


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Tags: #poverty #humanitarian #pakistan


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