One in 4 people in Myanmar still poor, report says

One out of four people are still under the poverty line in Myanmar, according to the “Myanmar Living Conditions Survey 2017” released on Thursday by the Ministry of Planning And Finance.

The survey was conducted with financial and technical assistance from the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

However, the percentage of the population below the poverty line dropped from 48.2 percent in 2005 to 24.8pc in 2017, the report stated. Despite the country’s increasing population, the number of poor declined from 18.7 million in 2005 to 11.8 million in 2017.

Data for the report was collected in 2017, thus the actual figures might be different by now, said U San Myint, director general of the Central Statistical Organisation.

In Myanmar, people surviving on K1500 a day are deemed below the poverty line, U San Myint said.

“To calculate the poverty line, we totalled basic household expenditures on food and non-food items to find the average minimum expenditure in the country. Those who fall below that minimum are defined as poor,” It is the cost of basic needs. All the expenses of households – food and non-food – were collected, and the minimum expenditure was calculated. Those who fell below that minimum line were defined as the poor. The calculation is based on the minimum K1590,” U San Myint said.

However, he said, people just above the poverty line in the country are also still vulnerable and can fall below the line again due to unexpected factors such as health problems or loss of employment.

The survey is conducted once every five years and the data of the survey is used in implementing the government’s poverty-alleviation efforts.

“We consider the data from the report when we decide on the budgets of regions and states,” said U San Myint.

Based on the survey, Chin State has the highest poverty rate at 58pc, while Rakhine State is second at 41.6pc. Thanintharyi, Mandalay and Yangon have poverty rates of 13pc. The poverty rate in rural areas is 30.2pc and 11.3pc in urban areas. The information for the survey was collected from 13,730 households between December 2016 and December 2017.

Source: Myanmar Times

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