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World Bank set to redefine extreme poverty as living on $1.90 a day

The World Bank is about to raise the threshold it uses to measure poverty, a move that could mean millions more people around the world will be considered to be poor, according to reports.

148 million more people could be considered poor under this new measure, to be released next week

Two girls play beside an open sewer in the sprawling slum on the edge of the Philippines' Manila Bay. The World Bank is about to recalculate the threshold for poverty to $1.90 a day. (Pat Roque/Associated Press)

The World Bank is about to raise the threshold it uses to measure poverty, a move that could mean millions more people around the world will be considered to be poor, according to reports.

The income that is considered the extreme poverty line has been set at $1.25 a day since 2008 and before that was $1 a day.

That number could be boosted about 50 per cent to $1.90 a day, according to the Financial Times.

 "We don't think we moved the goalposts," World Bank president Jim Yong Kim was quoted as saying in the FT. "We think we simply updated the goalposts to 2015."

The World Bank has not confirmed the $1.90 figure, and is expected to release its number Oct. 4.

World leaders are due to meet in New York City this week to approve new 15-year United Nations sustainable development goals, among them the goal of eradicating poverty.

The UN has said that 836 million people live in extreme poverty and about one in five people in developing regions live on less than $1.25 per day, the current World Bank yardstick.

But raising the threshold to $1.90 a day could add at least 148 million more people to the ranks of the world's poor, the UN estimates. 

The numbers from East Asia, including Mongolia and China, will be especially large, but many more people in Latin America and South Asia will also be considered to be living in poverty.

With files from Reuters

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