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In the years preceding the outbreak of the financial crisis, several countries of Eastern and South-eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia experienced a remarkable reduction in their poverty rates.

This is what emerges from a comparison of poverty headcount ratios, i.e. the proportion of population living in households with consumption levels below the national poverty line 1.

This indicator decreased from 2002 to 2008 in all the UNECE countries that have data for this period. However, in the countries with relatively high poverty levels in 2002, the decrease was much larger than in others. Countries rich in natural resources showed the steepest decline: Azerbaijan from 47 to 13 percent and Kazakhstan from 45 to 12 percent.

Limited availability of data for the most recent years does not yet allow assessing the effects of the financial and economic crisis on this development.

Source: UNECE MDG Database

Notes: for Serbia, 2005 refers to 2006; for Bosnia and Herzegovina, figures refer to 2007, 2004 and 2001 respectively.

1 For better comparability, we use here only the poverty lines defined through basic needs (the income necessary to purchase a nationally-defined basket of essential food and non-food items). This approach also suits better for middle-income countries than the poverty line of one dollar per day defined for global comparisons.