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The working poor in developing countries

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In advanced societies with social insurance systems, the "unemployment rate" rightly captures employment problems. In poor, developing countries lacking social insurance, many people "work" to survive and support their families, while the "unemployed" are able to survive while seeking work—hence typically low recorded unemployment rates alongside high poverty rates. This article proposes a methodology to estimate the number of working poor—those who work and belong to poor households. Results suggest that the working-poor population declined in many middle-income countries between 1986 and 1997, but that both declines and increases occurred in a significant number of low-income countries.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2001

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