Today poverty data are available for almost all countries in the world1. Because a country’s success is measured by the number of people it lifts out of poverty, identifying best performers is a fair exercise only if poverty indicators are fully comparable. One indicator used is the share of the population whose consumption (or income) level is below a nationally defined poverty line or the US 1.25 dollar PPP per day. But even if policy makers and other stakeholders can count on readily available statistics, the poverty numbers should not be taken at face value.
Data are useful if they give us a sense of reality
Poverty data are based on a set of arbitrary assumptions that may lead to erroneous conclusions.