Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Resilience and Sustainable Poverty Escapes in Asia

Recent research commissioned by the USAID Center for Resilience and conducted by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) examined why some households escape and remain out of poverty (sustainable poverty escape), while other households escape only to fall back into poverty (transitory poverty escape), and still others descend into poverty for the first time (impoverishment). The below findings developed by the USAID Center for Resilience represent a few common patterns found in the research across the Asian countries studied: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and the Philippines. Learn more by clicking on the full and summary findings in the sidebar.

Patterns Across Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal and the Philippines 

  • Health shocks were predominant across the countries, contributing to impoverishment and a transitory escape from poverty. Climate-related shocks were also common (although the type of climate shock varied depending on context)
  • Migration/remittances were predominant across the countries but had inconsistent associations. In some settings increasing risk for transitory/impoverishment and in others decreasing risk. I think differences may lie in the types of opportunities available for those who migrate, as well as differences between internal vs. external migration
  • An increase in livestock consistently reduced the risk of impoverishment/transitory poverty escapes across the countries
  • Number of dependents/household size was inconsistent across the countries, while in some settings increasing risk and other decreasing risk of transitory/impoverishment. The qualitative findings point to the age of dependents as well as issues related to gender (i.e., older children reduce the risk and families with many girls who have to pay a dowry may increase the risk).
  • Education across the board reduced the risk
  • Diversification and engagement in non-ag activities reduced the risk of impoverishment/transitory escapes
  • Psychosocial factors in a few of the countries were noted, especially related to alcohol abuse and intimate partner violence, both increasing the risk of impoverishment/transitory escape

To view individual country case studies and summaries of more findings from this research, visit the Agrilinks collection on Resilience and Sustainable Poverty Escapes.