Around 1.4 billion people—one-quarter of the population of the developing world—lived on less than $1.25 a day in 2005.1 The World Bank projects that the number of poor people will increase in the coming years due to slowing economic growth, and that reduced levels of development assistance will slow poverty reduction efforts. But numbers barely capture the true dimensions of global poverty. The definition of poverty reaches beyond income to encompass poor access to education and health, lack of opportunities, gender inequality and environmental degradation.
Population has the potential to impact all aspects of poverty. Fertility trends can help a country determine when and how to invest in its population and jump-start economic development. Similarly, meeting women’s needs for family planning around the world can help increase overall development and help diminish many impacts of poverty.