Stopping (re)-impoverishment is essential to ‘Get to Zero’


CPAN’s second Challenge Paper, How Resilient are Escapes from Poverty? investigates what happens to households after escaping poverty. 

We know little about what happens to those individuals and households after they escape extreme poverty.  Do they continue on an upwards trajectory, improving their situation, perhaps even entering the burgeoning middle-class of South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa? Or, do their living conditions stagnate at a level just above the extreme poverty line? Alternatively, after a period out of poverty do these individuals and households return to living in their former situation?

CPAN’s second challenge paper brings together the findings from survey data which re-visits households at three points in time.   It finds that:

  • Over particular time periods, descents into poverty can outnumber escapes from poverty.

  • Moving out of poverty is not a one-way street; once a household escapes poverty then its future status as non-poor is not guaranteed.

  • Remaining out of poverty is partly related to the distance which a household’s expenditure increases above the poverty line i.e. to the quality of poverty escapes.

  • Moving over the poverty line does not automatically place a household on an upwards pathway whereby they continue to improve their situation.

  • Having access to cultivable land and the household head completing primary education or higher are linked to sustained escapes from poverty.