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PovcalNet is 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 built-in database.  

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.