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Latest data on Poverty in India

Below Poverty Line Population in (%)

Survey Year          Rural   Urban  Total

1993-94                       50.1       31.8       45.3

2004-05                       41.8        25.7      37.2

2009-10                       33.8        20.9      29.8


Poverty ratio in Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Uttarakhand has declined by about 10 percentage points more.

In Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland, poverty in 2009-10 has increased.

Some of the bigger states such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh have shown only marginal decline in poverty ratio, particular in rural areas. States with high incidence of poverty are Bihar at (53.5 per cent), Chhattisgarh (48.7 per cent), Manipur (47.1 per cent), Jharkhand (39.1), Assam (37.9 percent) and Uttar Pradesh (37.7 per cent)

Social Groups

In rural areas, Scheduled Tribes exhibit the highest level of poverty (47.4%), followed by Scheduled Castes (SCs), (42.3%), and Other Backward Castes (OBC), (31.9%), against 33.8% for all classes.

In urban areas, SCs have Head Count Ratio of 34.1% followed by STs (30.4%) and OBC (24.3%) against 20.9% for all classes. In rural Bihar and Chhattisgarh, nearly two-third of SCs and STs are poor, whereas in state such as Manipur, Orissa and Uttar Pradesh the poverty ratio for these groups is more than half.

Religious Groups

Sikhs have lowest Head Count Ratio in rural areas (11.9%) whereas in urban areas, Christians have the lowest proportion (12.9%) of poor. In rural areas, the Head Count Ratio for Muslims in very high in states such as Assam (53.6%), Uttar Pradesh (44.4%), West Bengal (34.4%) and Gujarat (31.4%). In urban areas poverty ratio at all India level in highest for Muslims (33.9%). Similarly, for urban areas the poverty ratio is high for Muslims in states such  as Rajasthan (29.5%), Uttar Pradesh (49.5%), Gujarat (42.4%), Bihar (56.5%) and West Bengal (34.9%)

Occupational Categories

Nearly 50% of agricultural labourers and 40% of other labourers are below the poverty line in rual areas, whereas in urban areas, the poverty ratio for casual labourers is 47.1%. Those in regular wage/salaried employment have the lowest proportion of poor. In the agriculturally prosperous state of Haryana, 55.9% agricultural labourers are poor, wheareas in Punjab t is 35.6%. The HCR of casual labourers in urban areas is very high in Bihar (86%), Assam (89%), Orissa (58.8), Punjab (56.3%), Uttar Pradesh (67.6%) and West Bengal (53.7%).


  1. Only about 46% of household have toilet facilities
  2. As per the Household Consumer Expenditure Survey for 2009-10, 29.9 per cent of the population is under BPL
  3.  Rural poverty declined by 8 percentage points, urban poverty down by 4.8 per cetn
  4.  Poverty has gone up in the north-eastern States of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland
  5.  Bihar has the highest incidence of poverty at 53.5 per cent.
  6.  Among social groups in the rural areas, Scheduled Tribes (47.4 per cent) suffer the highest level of poverty.
  7.  Among social groups in the urban areas, Scheduled Castes (34.1 per cent)suffer the highest level of poverty.
  8.  Among religious groups in the rural areas, Sikhs have the lowest level of poverty at 11.9 per cent
  9.  Among religious groups in the urban areas, Christians have the lowest level of poverty at 12.9 per cent
  10.  Both in rural and urban areas, Muslims have a high level of poverty ranging from 29 per cent to 53 per cent
  11. Just 32% of households use treated water for drinking
  12. About 17% of the households still fetch drinking water from a source located more than 500 m in rural areas 100 m in urban areas
  13. About 11% more households have got access to electricity between the years 2001 and 2011.
  14. About 45% households owns a cycle which remains the primary mode of transportation.

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