As of 2017, the Tajikistan poverty rate is 32 percent, meaning that 32 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. Additionally, 3.7 percent of people live on less than $1.90 a day, according to the Asian Development Bank.
Tajikistan has one of the highest poverty rates of central and west Asian nations. It is currently third, following Afghanistan and the Kyrgyz Republic.
The current poverty rate is only slightly higher than that of 2015, when it was at 31.5 percent. Over the last five years, the Tajikistan poverty rate has hovered around the low 30 percent range.
Notable strides have been made since Tajikistan declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. According to UNICEF, the Tajikistan poverty rate was above 70 percent in the early 2000s. However, it remains one of the poorest countries in western Asia.
Poverty in Tajikistan has a particularly significant effect on children, large families with multiple children, and families in rural areas. For every 1,000 babies born, 39 die before their first birthday.
The poorest people in the country live in the rural Khation region. Here, 78 percent of the population lives below the national poverty line. The primary cause of rural poverty is a reliance on agricultural activities that do not provide an adequate income.
Tajikistan is currently the largest remittance-dependent country in the world. In 2012, it was the top receiver of remittances from Russia. Today, remittances make up over half of Tajikistan’s GDP (52 percent in 2013). The majority of families in Tajikistan have a migrant member of the household. In general, remittances have had a positive impact on reducing child poverty. They have been shown to improve living conditions for children, especially in terms of nutrition and morbidity rates.
The World Bank’s solutions for reducing poverty in Tajikistan are geared primarily towards private sector development, specifically private investment and private sector-led growth. An increase in both areas, and especially in agriculture, are represented in the World Bank’s ongoing Country Partnership Strategy (CPS). The organization has highlighted the need for a more “competitive” and “transparent” business environment. The movement of goods across borders to regional markets needs to be made easier as well.
Several achievements in the fiscal years of 2011 and 2013 have helped combat poverty in Tajikistan. This includes the implementation of a “single window” that simplifies import and export procedures, as well as the implementation of a revised tax code simplifying tax reporting procedures. These results and others are evidence that growth and solutions are underway in Tajikistan.
– Melanie Snyder