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Gender Differences In Poverty And Household Composition Through The Life-cycle a Global Perspective

This paper uses household surveys from
89 countries to look at gender differences in poverty in the
developing world. In the absence of individual-level poverty
data, the paper looks at what can we learn in terms of
gender differences by looking at the available individual
and household level information. The estimates are based on
the same surveys and welfare measures as official World Bank
poverty estimates. The paper focuses on the relationship
between age, sex and poverty. And finds that, girls and
women of reproductive age are more likely to live in poor
households (below the international poverty line) than boys
and men. It finds that 122 women between the ages of 25 and
34 live in poor households for every 100 men of the same age
group. The analysis also examines the household profiles of
the poor, seeking to go beyond headship definitions. Using a
demographic household composition shows that nuclear family
households of two married adults and children account for 41
percent of poor households, and are the most frequent
household where poor women are found. Using an economic
household composition classification, households with a male
earner, children and a non-income earner spouse are the most
frequent among the poor at 36 percent, and the more frequent
household where poor women live. For individuals, as well as
for households, the presence of children increases the
household likelihood to be poor, and this has a specific
impact on women, but does not fully explain the observed
female poverty penalty.

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