Columbia International Affairs Online: Working Papers

CIAO DATE: 10/2012

Where Will the World's Poor Live? An Update on Global Poverty and the New Bottom Billion

Andy Sumner

September 2012

Center for Global Development


This paper updates the distribution of global poverty data and makes projections up to 2020. The paper asks the following question: Do the world’s extreme poor live in poor countries? It is argued that many of the world’s extreme poor already live in countries where the total cost of ending extreme poverty is not prohibitively high as a percentage of GDP. And in the not-too-distant future, most of the world’s poor will live in countries that do have the domestic financial scope to end at least extreme poverty. This would imply a reframing of global poverty as largely a matter of domestic distribution.