Poverty rate at 28.4%

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Mongolia’s poverty rate in 2018 stood at 28.4 percent on estimation, according to the National Statistics Office and World Bank. This marks a 1.2 percent decline from the 29.6 percent poverty rate in 2016.

The two organizations have been making joint poverty assessments biennially since 2002. This time the poverty rate was estimated based on the 2018 Household Socio-Economic Survey.

In 2018, the poverty gap — which measures the depth of poverty by estimating how far off households are from the poverty line — was estimated at 7.2 percent, down by 0.5 percentage point from 2016, according to the report. Meanwhile, the poverty severity, measuring the degree of inequality among the poor by putting more weight on the position of the poorest, has decreased to 2.7 percent from 2.9 percent in 2016.

Experts noted that the poverty concentration is growing in urban areas. Between 2016 and 2018, the poverty rate declined by 4.1 percentage points in rural areas but rose by 0.1 percentage point in urban areas. While poverty rate remains high in rural areas, with two-thirds of the total population of Mongolia living in urban cities, poverty has become concentrated in urban areas. The share of the poor population in urban areas has increased from 62.1 percent in 2016 to 63.5 percent in 2018, and more than 40 percent of the poor lived in Ulaanbaatar by the end of 2018.

Regional poverty estimates show a decline in poverty rate by 6.6 percentage points in eastern region, 4.3 percentage points in western region, 2.7 percentage points in Khangai region, and by 0.7 percentage points in central region. However, the poverty rate increased by 1.1 percentage points in Ulaanbaatar.

At provincial level, Govisumber in central region has the highest poverty rate with more than half of the population are poor (51.9 percent), followed by Govi-Altai (45.1 percent), Dornod (42.5 percent) and Khovd (40.9 percent). On the other hand, Umnugovi has the lowest poverty incidence of 11.8 percent in Mongolia.

In terms of the number of the poor, Ulaanbaatar has by far the largest poor population (378,200 people) – nearly 10 times more than in Uvurkhangai, the province with the second highest number of poor people (40,900). Despite its highest incidence of poverty, Govisumber has one of the lowest number of the poor, specifically 8,200 people, due to its small population size.

In 2018, the monthly average consumption per capita reached 279,912 MNT, 3.9 percent higher than the price-adjusted real consumption per capita of 269,328 MNT in 2016. The growth of monthly per capita consumption from 2016 to 2018 was higher in rural areas (5.4 percent) than in urban areas (3.7 percent).

The National Statistics Office and World Bank notified that the forthcoming poverty report with an in-depth socio-economic analysis of the 2018 living conditions in Mongolia will be released this fall.

Dulguun Bayarsaikhan