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Poverty density in India

While economic reforms since 1991 have reduced extreme poverty to some extent, levels of poverty still remain very high across India. About 30% of the population (or 360m people) live below the official defined ‘poverty line’, i.e. live on US$0.41 per day (in rural areas).

The northern and central Indian states of Uttar Pradesh (UP), Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Bihar have the highest absolute numbers of poor citizens in India. Poverty is particularly extreme in UP, India’s most populous and politically most important state. The districts of eastern UP, such as Rae Bareli, Varanasi and Ghazipur have amongst the greatest poverty densities in India. Eastern UP has long been neglected in terms of development and investment. Further, literacy and health indicators are also abysmally low in UP.

The southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have comparably lower poverty levels. Kerala, in particular, has very high (over 95%) rates of literacy, and correspondingly lower levels of extreme poverty.

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