Recent Rise in Poverty and Its Implications for Poor Households in Pakistan

Author: G. M. Arif
Publication Year : 2000

There is sample evidence that poverty which declined rapidly in Pakistan in the 1970s and 1980s has increased in the 1990s.1 This rise in poverty is likely to have adversely affected the ability of poor households to enrol their young children in schools. The cost of schooling even when it is free is usually the most pressing obstacles for poor people to send their children in school. Similarly, health correlates strongly with poverty. This does not mean that poverty is itself a direct cause of diseases, but it lies behind other causes of disease such as in-sanitary living conditions, lack of adequate nutrition, poor access to safe drinking water, and sanitation and bad working conditions [World Bank (1993)]. Because of these factors, the poor are more affected by communicable diseases than are the rich. They have also less access to modern health facilities. This paper examines recent trends in poverty and their impact on primary school enrolment, health status and housing conditions in Pakistan.