Poverty Just under one billion people in the world today live in extreme poverty. There are many dimensions to their deprivation, low and irregular incomes, lack of safe drinking water, poor housing, limited access to health and education, and social exclusion and discrimination. Their poverty makes them extremely vulnerable to life cycle, natural, or economic hazards. In many cases, extreme poverty persists over time. Using a definition of chronic poverty as those people who remain under the poverty line for at least five years, approximately 400 million people in the world are chronically poor. The persistence of poverty over time eats into their assets and networks, undermining their resilience and voice. For a number of reasons, those affected by chronic and extreme poverty are often left out in policy initiatives. They are often harder to reach, require stronger and longer term support, and have limited political influence.