Pakistan: Rise and Fall of Incomes & Poverty, respectively

Eid Mubarak! Here is another reason to feel positive about Pakistan.

Yes, if we compare with other countries (graph 1) Pakistan’s income per person (GDP/capita) progress has lagged behind and we need to do much more in this regard.

GDPperCapita comparison

But have a look at rising income per person of Pakistan from 1980 till 2016, from US$550 per person to US$1,180 per person (inflation adjusted) (graph 2). It is progress which is often overlooked in the hue and cry of problems. Is it perfect, NO. Is it up to the mark, NO. Is it progress, YES.

GDP 1980-2016

Now you can say that GDP per capita is the average, the increase in income actually is going to the rich, and the poor are getting poorer. But, happily, you will be incorrect. Have a look at the drop in poverty levels in Pakistan – graph 3:

extreme poverty

People of Pakistan earning less than $1.90 per day were 6.1% of total population in 2013, this was 28.4% in 2000! Is it perfect, NO. Is it up to the mark, NO. Is it progress, YES! And it means that the increase in income of the country is not in total making the rich richer, it is also making the poor less poorer.

We need to do more, but with a sense of optimism and a belief that its working.

Clarification!: This (or these, as it is likely to be a series) is not meant to say k Sab Acha Hai, and that nothing needs to be done. Instead, the message I want to convey is that our proneness to negativity has gotten the better of us and we might be viewing the situation worse than it actually is. And yes, it is bad in certain areas, but not as bad as we might think. So we need to work towards betterment with a positive approach and belief that what we have been doing in the past did work, at least up to a certain extent. Secondly this is neither in defense of any political party nor in favor of any.

(graphs – courtesy: https://www.gapminder.org/ all the data is from public sources of UN, World Bank, IMF, etc.)

 

 

 

 

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