Taiwan contains lowest percentage of citizens living below poverty line in Asia

The country also contains the highest percentage living on US$50 per day or above

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Statistics show the proportion of Taiwanese living on 'high' incomes in the largest in Asia. (Flickr/David Hsieh)

Statistics show the proportion of Taiwanese living on 'high' incomes in the largest in Asia. (Flickr/David Hsieh)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan proportionally contains less people living in poverty than any other country in Asia, according to statistics obtained by an independent research center in the United States.

Figures from the Pew Research Center show that almost no Taiwanese citizens live on less than US$2 (NT$63) dollars per day. Furthermore, only 0.7 percent of the population live on between US$2-10 per day.

In contrast, 3.97 percent of Japanese citizens and 4.24 percent of Korean citizens live on US$10 or less per day.

The World Bank defines US$1.90 per day as the global poverty line, under which citizens would not be able to afford essential resources including food and shelter. The Pew Research Center adjusted this figure to US$2, and added three further brackets to interpret global income data.

According to these measures, Taiwan contains the largest proportion of people with a “high income” in Asia. In Taiwan, 33.8 percent of citizens live on over US$50 per day.

Just over 22 percent of Japanese citizens and Korean citizens fall into the same category.

Those in Taiwan living on between US$20-50 per day make up 56.8 percent of the population. Less than 9 percent live on between US$10-20 per day.

Uzbekistan has the largest proportion of people living below the poverty line in Asia, according to the statistics. Along with Turkmenistan and Cambodia, it contains almost no people living on more than US$50 per day.

The Pew Research Center figures were presented in a recent publication on China’s burgeoning middle class by U.S. think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

According to the statistics, while only 0.78 percent of China’s population enjoys a “high income,” only 0.93 percent now live below the poverty line.

Economic development over the past several decades has pulled hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty, CSIS reported. Much of the growth in its middle class, which had swelled to 531 million people in 2013, occurred within the “lower-middle” income bracket.

Changing social demographics are bringing new challenges to China, the report stated. A shift in middle-class dietary habits and a gradually aging population are increasing the cost of healthcare, and skyrocketing consumption levels are putting a great deal of stress on the environment.