The Chronic Poverty Report 2008-09: Escaping poverty traps

The report is about the estimated 320 to 443 million people who live trapped in chronic poverty - people who will remain poor for much or all of their lives and whose children are likely to inherit their poverty. The chronically poor experience multiple deprivations, including hunger, undernutrition, illiteracy, lack of access to safe drinking water and basic health services, social discrimination, physical insecurity and political exclusion. Many will die prematurely of easily preventable deaths.

Through our research we identify five main traps that underpin chronic poverty - insecurity, limited citizenship, spatial disadvantage, social discrimination and poor work opportunities - and outline key policy responses to these.

We argue that the development of a just social compact between citizens and states must be the focus for poverty eradication. Development actors can nurture such a compact through social protection, public services, effective anti-discrimination action, gender empowerment, economic growth and fiscal policy and the management of migration and urbanisation processes.

Most people in chronic poverty strive and work to improve their livelihoods, and to create a better future for their children in difficult circumstances. They need real commitment matched by actions and resources, to support their efforts and overcome the obstacles that trap them in poverty.

We argue that tackling chronic poverty is the global priority of our time and that eradicating poverty by 2025 is a feasible goal - if national governments and international organisations are willing to make the necessary political commitments and resource allocations. 

It is our hope that this report will inspire deeper reflection on how to tackle chronic poverty effectively and - most of all - will stimulate action to make it happen. 

Click here to download the Full report

Click here to download the Executive Summary

Click here to download the Summary in Spanish