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Global Income Distribution, U. Denver

According to often-quoted figures, at least a billion other people make less than $1/day, figures used by the UN and some think-tanks that study world poverty. There are billions more below $5 per day, according to this study from the University of Denver at But these figures bothered Economics Professor Xavier Sala-i-Martin of Columbia University in New York. He discovered that these estimates, deliberately or not, were making high-school errors in statistics, and produced a paper in 2005 showing the real figures were about 300 million people at the $1/day level, after 30 years of sharp decline. We'll be using his figures, rather than these or the similar ones in a 2002 U.N. report that lamented how the poorest fifth of humanity made under a dollar a day, and the richest fifth - us - made 50 or 70 times as much.

© Roy Brander, P.Eng 2008