Poverty in Bangladesh

"Poverty in Bangladesh"

"Poverty in Bangladesh"Since gaining independence in 1971, Bangladesh has increased its real per capita income by more than 130 per cent and cut poverty by more than half. It is now well positioned to achieve most of its Millennium Development Goals, but it remains a low-income country with substantial poverty, inequality and deprivation.

At least 45 million people in Bangladesh, almost one third of the population, live below the poverty line, and a significant proportion of them live in extreme poverty. The poverty rate is highest in rural areas, at 36 percent, compared with 28 percent in urban centers. Many people have an inadequate diet and suffer from periods of food shortage. Half of all rural children are chronically malnourished and 14 percent suffer from acute malnutrition.

Most of Bangladesh’s labors are engaged in informal, low-income jobs with limited productivity. Although agriculture now accounts for less than 20 percent of GDP, the farm sector still employs about 44 percent of the labor force. However, with urbanization, the amount of farmland is shrinking, and most rural households have very little, if any cultivable land.

Rice is the dominant crop, but production increases are limited by farmers’ lack of access to critical production tools such as high-yielding rice seeds. In addition, coastal areas are prone to saline intrusion.

Another root cause of rural poverty has been population growth, although this has dropped sharply from 3 percent to 1.4 percent in recent years. Population density remains extremely high, placing enormous pressure on the country’s natural resources especially on arable land. Meanwhile, rural and urban industries are unable to meet the demand for jobs, forcing many Bangladeshis to seek work abroad.

Bangladesh is particularly vulnerable to climate change. Severe flooding during monsoons can cause significant damage to crops and property, and an adverse impact on rural livelihoods. Climate change seems likely to add to the destruction by monsoon floods, and the frequency of cyclones may increase. poor people are hit hardest because they are more densely concentrated in badly constructed housing on land that is prone to hazards.

Poverty is especially persistent in three areas: the north-west, which is affected by droughts and river erosion; the central northern region, which is subject to serious seasonal flooding that limits crop production; and the southern coastal zones, which are affected by soil salinity and cyclones.

The cause of urban poverty are due to the limited employment opportunities, degraded environment, and bad housing and sanitation. The urban poor hold jobs that are labor demanding, thus affecting their health conditions. Therefore, the urban poor are in a difficult situation to escape poverty.

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