Sri Lanka achieved ‘Upper Middle Income Country’ (UMIC) status in July 2019, as the country’s Gross National Income (GNI) increased from USD 3,840 per capita in 2018 to USD 4,060 per capita in 2019. Sri Lanka scraped by the line of demarcation to enter the new threshold for UMICs and is still at the lower end of the spectrum. This blog presents some important points statisticians, planners, and policymakers should consider when developing methodologies and measurements to estimate poverty in Sri Lanka in the future.
A study by IPS and GLWC examined the living wage for tea pluckers in Sri Lanka, to act as a catalyst for action throughout the value chain to raise wages towards a living wage. Here, the estimated gross living wage was Rs. 23,785 per month in January 2019. This blog argues that the prevailing wage of these workers has to be raised by at least Rs. 3,055 (15%) to reach the living wage level.
Multidimensional Poverty (MDP) is an effective measure that captures the many different deprivations faced by the poor. Although the incidence of MDP in Sri Lanka is only 1.9% (around 400,000 persons), nearly 10% of the population or around two million people are in Near Multidimensional Poverty (NMDP). Altogether, 2.4 million people in Sri Lanka are either in MDP or NMDP. This analysis examines the different groups that face MDP, where they live, and the types of deprivations, as well as the percentages of the deprivations they face.
Many Sri Lankans live just above and very close to the National Poverty Line (NPL). For instance, more than 400,000 persons fall within 10 per cent above the NPL and around one million persons live within 20 per cent above the NPL. As such, it is important to have a broad look at poverty, when developing strategies to alleviate poverty. In this blog, Wimal Nanayakkara, explains the methodology used in determining NPL and the Global Poverty Lines (GPLs), when estimating poverty in Sri Lanka and attempts to clear some misconceptions on these poverty lines, while stressing the importance of estimating poverty using different measures and dimensions.
Although Sri Lanka has managed to reduce income poverty, income inequality has remained unchanged for more than four decades. The richest 20 per cent enjoy more than half the total household income of the country, while the poorest 20 per cent get only 5 per cent. Furthermore, income gaps between different regions is even wider than the income inequality at the national level. In this blog, the author highlights that the imbalances in opportunities and wide gaps in income levels, as well as in living conditions, among regions and between the rich and the poor, should be addressed immediately.