Forty million people moved out of poverty in Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union from 1998 through 2003, leaving 61 million people still poor, a World Bank study released Wednesday found. . . .
In Russia, where poverty doubled to 20 percent at the height of the financial crisis, it fell to 8.5 percent by 2002, the most recent year for which data are available, lower than before the crisis. Preliminary household survey data from 2003 and 2004 indicate poverty continued to decline, said Ruslan Yemtsov, a senior economist at the World Bank and the author of the study.
There is still a huge urban-rural divide, however:
In Uzbekistan, 4 percent of people in the capital, Tashkent, were in poverty, compared with 55 percent in rural areas. In Kazakhstan, it was 2 percent in the cities of Astana and Almaty and 31 percent in rural areas.
The decline in poverty has yet to translate into better public health, however.