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PovcalNetis an interactive computational tool that allows you
to replicate the calculations made by the World Bank's researchers in estimating
the extent of absolute poverty in the world. PovcalNet also allows you to
calculate the poverty measures under different assumptions and to assemble the
estimates using alternative country groupings or for any set of individual
countries of the user’s choosing. PovcalNet is self-contained; it has reliable
built-in software that quickly does the relevant calculations for you from the
In October 2016, the World Bank released estimates of global poverty from 1981 to 2013 based on 2011 PPP. The new poverty estimates combine Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) exchange rates for household consumption from the 2011 International Comparison Program with data from more than one thousand household surveys across 138 countries in six regions, and 21 other high income countries. Over two million randomly sampled households were interviewed for the 2013 estimate, representing 87 percent of the population of the developing world.
PovcalNet is the source of, and allows users to replicate, the Bank's official global, regional and internationally comparable country level poverty estimates published in the World Development Indicators, as well as the shared prosperity indices reported in the Global Monitoring Report. If you would like to duplicate the World Bank's regional poverty estimates please click the first button; or go to the second button to form your own group of countries. PovcalNet uses unit-record data whenever possible. For other cases, grouped distributions are used. New survey data become available to us on a continuous basis and these will be added to PovcalNet in regular updates.
PovcalNet is a product of the World Bank's research department, the Development
Research Group. This version of PovcalNet software was designed by
Qinghua Zhao. The global poverty monitoring database is managed by
Shaohua Chen and Prem Sangraula, with
assistance from Kihoon Lee and Liang Yu.
Assembly of these data is undertaken under the auspices of the Global Poverty
Working Group which brings together the PovcalNet team and country- and
regional-level counterparts in the World Bank’s Poverty Global Practice, and
which compiles country level data and assesses these for international
comparability. Overall guidance is provided by Kaushik Basu,
Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, Asli Demirgüç-Kunt,
Director of Research, Development Economics, and Francisco H. G.
Ferreira, Senior Advisor of Poverty and Inequality team in the Research
Department. The founder of PovcalNet and former Director of Research, Martin
Ravallion, provides continued oversight of the methodology adopted in PovcalNet.
A great many colleagues at the World Bank have helped the team in obtaining the
necessary data for PovcalNet. An important acknowledgement goes to the staff of
over 100 governmental statistics offices that collected the primary household
and price survey data. The Bank's Development Data Group has provided the 2011
consumption PPPs, population and other National Accounts data used here.
PovcalNet was developed for the sole purpose of public replication of
the World Bank’s poverty measures for its widely used international poverty
lines, including $1.90 a day and $3.10 a day in 2011 PPP. The methods built into
PovcalNet are considered reliable for that purpose. However, we cannot be
confident that the methods work well for other purposes, including tracing out
the entire distribution of income. We would especially warn that estimates of
the densities near the bottom and top tails of the distribution could be quite
unreliable, and no attempt has been made by the Bank’s staff to validate the
tool for such purposes.