World Bank Group

Bangladesh Employment Generation Program

Bangladesh has seen an impressive decline in poverty over the last twenty years, but a large number of households still live below the poverty line. About 35 million people live in extreme poverty. The national poverty rate declined at roughly one percentage point per annum over the last 15 years. Yet according to the 2005 Household Income and Expenditure Survey (HIES) 40 percent of the population still lives in poverty and 25 percent of the population in extreme poverty (HIES 2005). Only 40 percent of household heads among the poor has received more than 5 years of education and only 6 percent more than 10 years (HIES 2005). Literacy rates for poor male workers aged 15 and older stand at 52 percent; 33 percent for poor female workers. Besides being less educated, the poor are also less healthy. The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) (2004) finds that, on average, 16.7 percent of poor children suffer severe stunting.