To know what helps to alleviate poverty, what works and what does not, what changes over time, poverty has to be defined, measured, and studied -- and even lived. As poverty has many dimensions, it has to be looked at through a variety of indicators -- levels of income and consumption, social indicators, and now increasingly indicators of vulnerability to risks and of socio/political access.
   The most commonly used way to measure poverty is based on incomes or consumption levels. A person is considered poor if his or her consumption or income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the "poverty line". What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values. It has been estimated that in 2011 1.6 billion people world-wide had consumption levels below $1 a day -- 25 percent of the population of the developing world and 3.5 billion lived on less than $2 a day.
  Actions are needed in three areas: promoting economic opportunities for poor people through equitable growth, better access to markets, and expanded assets; facilitating empowerment by making state institutions more responsive to poor people and removing social barriers that exclude women, ethnic and racial groups, and the socially disadvantaged; and enhancing security by preventing and managing economy wide shocks and providing mechanisms to reduce the sources of vulnerability that poor people face. Global actions are need to achieve maximum benefit for poor people throughout the world.
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