Published on Data Blog

Living in a two-speed world: Extreme poverty is declining in most countries but stagnating in economies in fragility or conflict

A new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty” applies the freshly updated World Bank classification criteria for economies in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) retrospectively to the whole period since 2000. This allows segmenting all economies into groups based on their FCS status during this period and then linking country groups to poverty data.

Countries are grouped based on whether they were chronically in FCS throughout the period, escaped FCS, entered FCS, were never in FCS, or recurrently moved in and out of FCS. The results are striking. Over the last 20 years, poverty has decreased from 27% to 4% in economies never in FCS and from 44% to 19% in economies escaping FCS. For economies entering FCS, poverty has increased from 17% to 23% over the past 10 years, while poverty has remained stubbornly above 40% in economies chronically in FCS. Today, a person living in an economy that is chronically in FCS is 10 times more likely to be poor than a person living in one that was never in FCS.

Made with Flourish

This blog is part of a series using data from the new report, “Fragility and Conflict: On the Front Lines of the Fight against Poverty.” The report shows why addressing fragility and conflict is vital for poverty goals and charts directions for action. It presents new estimates of welfare in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), filling gaps in previous knowledge, and analyzes the multidimensional nature of poverty in these settings. It shows that data deprivation in FCS has prevented an accurate global picture of fragility, poverty, and their interactions, and it explains how innovative new measurement strategies are tackling these challenges.


Daniel Gerszon Mahler

Senior Economist, Development Data Group, World Bank

Alexander Irwin

Independent Global Health Writer and Researcher

Join the Conversation

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly
Remaining characters: 1000