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Countries with the Most People in Extreme Poverty

Name the countries that have the greatest number of people living in extreme poverty.
As of 7 December 2023
Quiz by Quizmaster
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Last updated: December 7, 2023
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First submittedJuly 8, 2017
Times taken71,582
Average score70.0%
Rating4.48
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#
%
Country
69.9 m
32
Nigeria
60.0 m
63
D. R. Congo
40.5 m
3
India
24.9 m
37
Tanzania
23.9 m
56
Afghanistan
22.9 m
67
Mozambique
22.5 m
69
Yemen
19.8 m
67
Madagascar
#
%
Country
18.9 m
36
Uganda
18.3 m
15
Ethiopia
16.4 m
73
Malawi
15.2 m
44
Venezuela
15.1 m
57
Niger
14.1 m
6
Brazil
13.1 m
22
South Africa
#
%
Country
12.2 m
80
South Sudan
12.1 m
26
Sudan
11.9 m
58
Zambia
11.0 m
1
China
10.9 m
31
Angola
no data
North Korea
no data
Syria
87 Comments
+16
Level 48
Jul 24, 2019
Hello, this quiz is very outdated. It would be nice to try this with current data. Try to update it, please. World poverty clock might make a good source: https://worldpoverty.io/index.html
+14
Level ∞
Nov 4, 2019
Thanks for the suggestion. I like your source better than the World Bank data I was originally using.
+1
Level 48
Dec 6, 2023
Thanks for taking my suggestion and updating the quiz. I have made my versions (both for absolute numbers and percentage) in the meantime using the same source (world poverty clock), but have not updated those for 1 year, I guess, they are irrelevant now thanks to this quiz
+12
Level 82
Nov 5, 2019
Knew a lot of people from many of these countries - mostly expat workers I met overseas when I was an expat worker myself. Some refugees and victims of human trafficking, as well. Often they're some of the nicest people you'll meet, despite always being vilified by the locals in whichever community they've settled in.

Visited India and Ethiopia. Had a nice time in the latter.

+4
Level 71
Apr 2, 2021
Just out of curiosity, is there a reason you didn't have a "nice" time in India? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that--there are a lot of things about India that might make it somewhat unpalatable to foreigners, such as the pollution, poor sanitation, or crowdedness. But India also has plenty of absolutely gorgeous historical/cultural/natural attractions, and, as you alluded to, Indians are often very hospitable. I haven't been there myself, but it's on my bucket list (and I've been to Bangladesh which is a pretty similar experience).

I'm guessing Ethiopia has many of those same problems (although poorer and probably less crowded), and I know that you've traveled a lot so you might be more used to stuff like that than the average tourist. I'm just wondering what made the difference between the two.

+4
Level 82
Oct 1, 2021
I didn't say that I didn't have a nice time in India. But I did enjoy my trip to Ethiopia more. If there are things that I didn't particularly like about India it would include the pollution and poor sanitation, the bad infrastructure, and the fact that both my mother and I got deathly ill on the trip thanks for sure in part to the above. But I'm glad I got to go. I'll say this about the country, though: it's definitely not for novice travelers. Everything from securing visas, to arranging transportation, to avoiding hassles and scams once there... I could see dissuading less seasoned travelers from ever traveling anywhere again. There is a very long list of countries I'd advise people go to before India. But if you've been to Bangladesh and survived I'm sure you'd be fine there.
+3
Level 82
Oct 1, 2021
Ethiopia was indeed much less crowded, cleaner, prettier, didn't make me sick, presented fewer hassles and was just overall a better experience. And though some personified hangnail is going to wrongly interpret this as some kind of weird brag or sexism: I also found friendlier, more attractive women there. A lot of this is subjective, and some of it is random or the result of luck, I know. I spent fewer than 3 weeks both places. But... again... my comment above was not actually meant to imply that I had a bad time in India.

One other factor in my positive recollection of Ethiopia may be that, at the time I went to India, I had already spent a very substantial amount of time in Asia, including many years in the Middle East and SouthEast Asia, and there are a lot of similarities between India and places like Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and Bahrain. On the other hand, I've never visited any other sub-Saharan African country. So it was more of a novelty.

+7
Level 79
Nov 14, 2023
"I also found friendlier, more attractive women there." I don't interpret this as a brag or sexist, but it is kinda weird. Like, why bring it up at all? Is that really such an important part of travelling, especially considering factors like severe illness and the likelihood of scams? Plus you make people 10x more likely to interpret it "wrongly" by prefacing it with your obnoxious caveat. Just chill dude, nobody's trying to cancel you, but accept the fact that some people might find it unsettling that you decide to comment on the attractiveness of women in basically every country you've been to.
+2
Level 71
Oct 5, 2021
^Yeah, the pollution/sanitation is probably the #1 thing that bothers me about Bangladesh too. And yes, I've heard that it's difficult to get visas to India. My sister tried to get us Indian visas once and the process was long and arduous, and in the end we only got visas for 6 months (we ended up not going due to scheduling disruptions). It seems like their government tries anything it can to keep people from visiting.

Sorry to hear that you got sick--I've heard it happens to a lot of people. I'm glad to hear of your experiences though, and it makes sense.

+3
Level 56
Oct 8, 2021
To Kalbahamut's point - We see a lot of such things mostly coming from travellers on a shoestring budget who get exposed to the underbelly (which ALL the largest cities in the world have). Not surprising that a few people get ill because they really want to experience India in 10 dollars a day. Well for that, you get what you get. Cholera burgers and gastro pizza.

India is not cheap to live in. As a matter of fact, whenever I travel to the US with my family, we ensure that we take minimal luggage and buy both luggage and clothes / electronics etc. from there. Simply because it is so cheap compared to India.

In India, economy hotels start at 80 dollars a night although we have hotels starting at 10 dollars as well. So for those who want to stay at a dodgy hotel, the result will be dodgy as well. Please choose well. India has plenty to offer for everyone. Plus with Uber / Ola - why would anyone have a problem with transportation? And with so much available on the internet??

+2
Level 65
Oct 8, 2021
Absolutely. India is not a cheap country. You can have all the facilities you want, but it comes at a premium. You can't expect to do India, expecting it to be a cheap holiday like Thailand or Indonesia. You're gonna have a bad time otherwise.
+1
Level 76
Dec 1, 2021
I've visited twice, did it cheaply and had a great time both times. Tons of backpackers go there and travel cheaply.
+15
Level 90
Nov 5, 2019
Would it be possible to get a definition of what constitutes extreme poverty for the purposes of this quiz in the instructions please.
+4
Level 93
Nov 5, 2019
Most recently I have seen it as below $1.90 per day although this obviously varies with the value of money.
+3
Level 90
Sep 30, 2021
Still waiting, but in response to another comment here I see the quizmaster is mentioning $1.90 a day. Just state that at the top of the quiz please.
+3
Level 54
Oct 5, 2021
As kogatora replied, it is considered extreme poverty when the salary is $1.90 per day or lower, is the figure used by the UN and pretty much every other institution.

This quiz focuses on number of people not percentage so India with only 9% of its billion and a half people tops the list, but countries where most of the population is in extreme poverty are not shown because they don´t have as much total population, like Haiti or Cuba with just over 10 million people, where the income is regularly just below of just above the $1.90 per day line, in the case of Venezuela with 30 million people and over 50% extreme poverty you see it, and salaries are regularly $0.15 per day

+14
Level 87
Nov 5, 2019
I thought, "At last, a quiz with the Central African Republic as an answer!" But no...
+10
Level 72
Nov 5, 2019
Considering some of the countries on here and some of the ones NOT on here, these figures must be politicized. I mean, China, with 1.4 billion people, doesn't even have 7 million that meet the definition?
+12
Level 16
Nov 5, 2019
Chinas currently has 0.3 percent of its populations living with less than PPP equivalent of 1.90 Dollar. Absolute that translates to 4.2 million.
+3
Level 38
Nov 6, 2019
If this is true, that's insane.
+20
Level ∞
Jan 12, 2020
Why is that insane? $1.90 per day is almost nothing. The per-capita GDP of China is about 28 times that.
+3
Level 83
Oct 4, 2021
Well, there are somewhere around 12 million Uyghurs in China. I'm guessing a large percentage of them would be considered living in extreme poverty. It's likely this is simply another case of the CCP fudging their numbers.
+5
Level 64
Oct 5, 2021
Even the ones doing prison labor are still getting paid for it. Even here in the US, generally considered to have the worst prison conditions in the developed world (I know China doesn't quite count as that yet but they're on the threshold), we pay our prisoners more than the extreme poverty threshold for their labor.
+17
Level 44
Nov 6, 2019
Figures from China are notoriously questionable and frequently manipulated for political reasons...there are still PLENTY of very poor people in the western parts of China and many exploited workers from these regions who are working as indentured labour in factories in the east.
+6
Level 68
Jan 12, 2020
I agree. You'll see China in every "good" quiz and you'll never see China in any "bad" quiz.
+9
Level 59
Oct 5, 2021
Lol bro do you think random jetpunk quiz maker is paid off by the proc
+7
Level 76
Nov 13, 2023
I literally saw Quizmaster getting a red envelope from a shady looking Chinese guy last week
+2
Level 46
Oct 8, 2021
you must be suffering from selective perception ~ from every "bad" quiz with a political viewpoint, China is most likely there
+5
Level 78
Jan 12, 2020
While that could be the case, $1.90 per day is very low. A lot of people in China who most would consider "very poor" might not actually fall under this definition of extreme poverty.
+7
Level ∞
Jan 12, 2020
The figures are probably accurate. All those exploited factory workers still make a lot more than $1.90 a day.
+1
Level 72
Nov 13, 2023
The source also appears to not list countries that have an extreme poverty rate under 3%. Even 0.75% would be enough to get China on the list, so I'm still slightly sceptical. China certainly isn't the worst country to live in, but it's not exactly great either.
+1
Level 73
Jan 12, 2020
Syria not in the "top" 24 but South Africa is? Wow!
+2
Level 73
Feb 19, 2020
The missing Syria surprised me as well at first. But according to wikipedia, the estimated population in 2019 is about 17 million people. To become a part of the quiz, almost half of it should live in extreme poverty, which apparently and thankfully is not the case.
+3
Level 75
Oct 1, 2021
Well, Syria was the only one I missed. I'm not sure how one was supposed to get it, given that it had no data. (But if you're telling me that there are more Syrians than Bangladeshis or Pakistanis living in something called "extreme poverty" - by almost any criteria, I'm calling shenanigans.)
+4
Level 71
Jan 12, 2020
A truer list would be in % figures rather than numbers:
+18
Level 77
Jan 12, 2020
That would be a different list, not a "truer" one.
+5
Level 75
Jan 12, 2020
I agree with Malbaby that using percentages rather than total numbers might be a better indicator. Using total numbers it seems to me that countries with higher populations would be more likely to make the list. (But I'm no expert. Maybe someone who is could comment.)
+3
Level 71
Jan 12, 2020
Surprised Burundi is on here and very surprised no Haiti or Zimbabwe! Zimbabwe was was literally running out of money!
+1
Level 62
May 19, 2020
burundi is incredibly poor they are they have the lowestgdp per capita in the world
+1
Level 81
Mar 28, 2023
Sure, but most people think of it as just a tiny country so no reason to think it'd be on quiz about population size. Of course, Burundi is so poor and so densely populated that it just makes it onto the quiz anyways.
+1
Level 45
Apr 23, 2020
South Sudan :(
+6
Level 55
Jun 10, 2020
I wish this quiz didn’t have to exist
+1
Level 52
Oct 22, 2020
It doesn't have to...it just chose to exist.
+3
Level 27
Jul 3, 2020
Happy to see pakistan is not here, actually most pakistanis r well off, but some of them in far off areas are reallypoor
+3
Level 56
Jul 21, 2020
Thank India for 1971. ;)
+2
Level 71
Dec 28, 2020
Unfortunately, there's a lot that needs to be updated on this list. The pandemic and recession have not been very kind to many of these nations. According to World Poverty Clock, India alone has seen its number jump by almost 100 million, making it #1 on the list now.
+2
Level ∞
Dec 28, 2020
Oof. I'll update it in late 2021. Hopefully things will be better by then.
+8
Level ∞
Sep 30, 2021
Updated. Things didn't get better.

It's quite possible that the heavy-handed (and ineffective) pandemic response in India caused more misery than all the deaths from Covid everywhere in the world.

Allow me to get on my high horse for a second. When rich people in the western world die, it's a global tragedy. When literally 60 million people in India fall into a state of abject poverty and deprivation no one cares. Of course, the west didn't force India to take the path they did. The government of India has only itself to blame. But it's sad. And no one here in the U.S. even talks about it or cares at all. Instead we focus on trivial "first world" problems. If we spent even 1% of our massive, multi-trillion dollar Covid handouts on foreign aid, it could make a big difference.

+1
Level 79
Sep 30, 2021
I think a lot of people in the West care. I've seen enough poverty in the sub-continent never to want to see any more - but it would also help if India spent some of their $2 billion space program money on their own people (up 46% this pandemic year). There's a hint of a neo-colonial attitude in trying to load the results of their decisions onto the West's conscience.
+6
Level ∞
Oct 1, 2021
Oh, yeah, I agree. It's not the West's fault. India's terrible government is to blame for everything.

I just thing it's crazy that the U.S. is willing to spend trillions on Covid, much of it to enable people to not work and stay home watching TV, but yet our government spends almost nothing on humanitarian aid, even when it would do a lot of good.

And most European countries are the same. Canada and Australia are even worse.

I guess the Nordic countries still have decent priorities for the most part.

+5
Level 79
Oct 1, 2021
well, yes but you need a functioning economy to pay aid. Just looked and there's a quiz on this site re foreign aid and the USA is top, with the UK second - while China and Saudi Arabia seem to have forgotten where they left their wallets.

India repudiated UK aid about 10 years ago on the basis that $100s millions was "peanuts" to them. And all the time the Indian super-rich become super-richer while nearly 100 million of their people live in extreme poverty - so it's not just the Indian Govt which should be utterly ashamed.

+3
Level 62
Oct 1, 2021
The lockdown initiated in March 2020 was too long, too harsh and at a very short notice. It kind of worked in 2020 , with lesser that effected deaths. However, the mishandling and utter carelessness of the government in April 2021, led to a second wave , which negated any of the benefits of the first lockdown, and led to an economy shutdown for the second time. All of this combined with the 2016 demonetization, the poor rollout of a unified goods and service tax, and the everlasting corruption that is still present in the lower levels, has significantly reduced the poverty elimination rate.
+2
Level 62
Oct 1, 2021
Although extreme poverty has reduced considerably in the last 30 years , India has lagged behind other countries such as China in reducing poverty. The chief reason behind it is that our manufacturing sector never took off.

The economy until 1991 was completely socialist (It is still majorly socialist today) , all major industries were nationalized, and private capital was virtually nonexistent. Also, since it's independence India's economy has been Agriculture based. Agriculture today still employs 55% !!!! of the population , while making up only 14% of the GDP. This has led to high numbers of disguised unemployment . Even though Agriculture comprises a large portion of govt spending, it has still not modernized due to the refusal of farmers to modernize(any attempt at reform has been unsuccessful due to large protests). This prevent millions of agricultural families from coming out of poverty.

+2
Level 62
Oct 1, 2021
And even after economic liberalization in 1991, setting up industries in India is nightmare with unimaginable amount of corruption and environment regulations(which are very easily waived off for agriculture, as farmers form a large vote bank).
+1
Level 66
Dec 6, 2023
"If we spent even 1% of our massive, multi-trillion dollar Covid handouts on foreign aid, it could make a big difference."

? I think a lot of people learned from the social experiment of Afghanistan what happens when the best civilization in the world donates unlimited money, and 20 years of volunteerism, to a less developed one.

If the local populace isn't interested in advancing, they aren't going to advance. It's almost like that explains their current situation..

If anyone wants to take their own trillion dollars, and attempt it again, I encourage them to. I'm not interested in doing things again and expecting different results. You can arrange your own church group or social group to do that outside of the United States government.

+3
Level 72
Sep 30, 2021
This quiz is otherwise known as "name the countries of sub-Saharan Africa"
+5
Level 89
Sep 30, 2021
Bangladesh must be rolling in some newfound dough.
+4
Level ∞
Oct 1, 2021
Bangladesh has actually been doing pretty well lately!

https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GDP.PCAP.PP.CD?locations=BD

+2
Level 71
Oct 5, 2021
Yay Bangladesh! It makes me happy to see how much progress has been made there.

I know I've shared this article in other places on this site, but I think it's appropriate here as well. It's a good roadmap out of extreme poverty, and I think a lot of the countries on this quiz can learn from Bangladesh.

+1
Level 48
Oct 5, 2021
It has always been my understanding that Burundi, whose citizens make about $700 per YEAR, was the poorest country on earth and it's not even an answer in this quiz(?).
+1
Level 68
Oct 5, 2021
It still could well be. This quiz is based on the most people, rather than the highest percentage. Burundi's population is 11.9 million, with the lowest number on here 9.12m, so Burundi would need to have over 75% of people living in extreme poverty to make this list.
+1
Level 68
Oct 5, 2021
However, looking at the source at World Poverty Clock, it states Burundi as having 9,355,887 people living in extreme poverty - that's 79% of people. Probably should be included in this quiz in which case, you're right Dave!
+1
Level ∞
Oct 5, 2021
Wow, that's correct. The quiz has been fixed.
+2
Level 74
Oct 28, 2021
I feel bad just typing african countries +at war countries + north korea + venezuela.
+1
Level 40
Oct 28, 2021
There is also Turkey. Half of the population in Turkey works for minimum wage and the minimum wage is lower than the hunger limit. Turkey's population is 84 million
+6
Level 63
Mar 6, 2022
Extreme poverty means $1.90 per day, looks like Turkey's minimum wage is over $11.00 per day
+1
Level 62
Mar 18, 2022
Funny story, a few years ago in 2016.I went through Khasan in Russia and saw terrible poverty in the DPRK.
+7
Level 72
Nov 13, 2023
That's not very funny
+1
Level 85
Nov 13, 2023
Sad to see Venezuela on here. Chavismo sucks.
+1
Level 72
Nov 13, 2023
Largest proven oil reserves in the world, yet it's all squandered. They have so much potential. Hopefully they pull through some day.
+1
Level 79
Nov 15, 2023
So much potential... for oil extraction? By the time they figure it out hopefully most of the world will be on to other things than sucking the last drops of oil out of the Earth.
+1
Level 87
Nov 14, 2023
One of the richest oil-producing nations in Africa is on this list (Angola). Same idea, I guess.
+4
Level 63
Nov 13, 2023
I am more and more afraid to imagine extreme poverty, since there is no Somalia, Bangladesh,

Haiti, only 34% of Venezuela and 5% of India... Conditions for a significant number of people in these countries are terrible, how bad should they be for people on $1.90 a day?

+2
Level 72
Nov 13, 2023
Somalia (40%) and Haiti (21%) are really bad, but they don't have enough people to qualify. Bangladesh seems to be doing okay percentage-wise at 4%, so they "only" have 6.6M in extreme poverty. Honestly 40% for Somalia is still a lot better than I expected, there are a lot of countries with higher rates which surprised me.
+6
Level 63
Nov 13, 2023
Large portions of both Haiti and Somalia are outside the national government's control and probably not safe for NGO workers so it's hard to know how reliable those data really are.
+2
Level 72
Nov 14, 2023
It's ironic how much that skews things. That explains why the source said South Africa had a higher extreme poverty rate than Haiti.
+3
Level 81
Nov 13, 2023
I’m struggling to believe that Ethiopia doesn’t have enough. It looks like they’re just below the cutoff, but that still seems crazy. I guess they must have made huge strides lately.
+1
Level 87
Nov 14, 2023
And yet they've been in and out of civil war over the period. Weird.
+1
Level 63
Nov 13, 2023
According to your source (World Poverty Clock) both Brazil and the Philippines have more than 11 million in extreme poverty. Maybe those were recent updates.
+1
Level ∞
Nov 13, 2023
Added Philippines, thanks.
+1
Level 71
Nov 14, 2023
I'm surprised that South Africa is so poor, I always thought it's one of the "better-off" African countries.
+1
Level 72
Nov 14, 2023
Same here. It's likely because they're developed enough to have accurate statistics and reports.
+1
Level 79
Nov 15, 2023
It's also the sixth most populous country in Africa and has the lowest percentage of African countries on the quiz.
+1
Level 70
Nov 21, 2023
I think its because the level of inequality in south africa is extreme and a legacy of apartheid (the majority white areas at the time apartheid was abolished were on par with western european living standards while the 'bantustans' were extraordinarily impoverished). It doesn't help that many of the competent administrators left with the end of apartheid and that successive governments have been so corrupt that now rolling blackouts are a part of life throughout the country.
+1
Level 48
Dec 6, 2023
According to current data on world poverty clock several countries are missing:

Afghanistan 24

Ethiopia 18.3

Sudan 12

China 10.9

You should review and maybe update once more (do not know, if those were there one month ago).

+1
Level ∞
Dec 7, 2023
Murphy's Law. As soon as I updated the quiz they pushed a MASSIVE update. It should be fixed now. I didn't reset the stats because people hate that. So the stats will be messed up for awhile.
+1
Level 45
Dec 7, 2023
surprised so few people got madagascar