Rising rural wages in Asia will reduce extreme poverty: report

Wed Oct 1, 2014 7:04pm EDT
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By Kieran Guilbert

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The rise in rural wages now taking place across Asia could lift hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty in the next decade, a new report showed on Thursday.

Falling birth rates and a growing demand for factory workers mean that rural wages will keep rising sharply across the continent, according to the Overseas Development Institute's (ODI) report Rural Wages in Asia.

The ODI is Britain's leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

The study found that up to three quarters of the world's poorest people, particularly those who earn less than the extreme poverty level of $1.25 a day, live in rural areas.

ODI research fellow Steve Wiggins said that rural wages were crucial as they "mark the lowest returns to labor on offer".

"Once people get paid over $5 a day, they leave the real misery of extreme poverty behind," Wiggins told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Another decade of rural wage rises could see the end of extreme poverty en masse in Asia, improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people."

Average earnings for male farm workers in China more than doubled between 1998 and 2007, rising to $7 a day from $3.02, the report showed.   Continued...