The poverty ratio or the percentage of population living in poverty is not uniform all over the country. It varies across different states.
Orissa with a poverty ratio of 47% and Bihar with a poverty ratio of 43% are the two poorest states in India. The poverty ratios in Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Tripura and Uttar Pradesh are much higher. The states of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, and Jammu and Kashmir along with the union territory of Delhi, have the lowest poverty ratios in the country. Since the 1970s, there has been a general decline in the poverty ratios for all states in India.
The states that have shown the most significant decline in poverty are Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Gujarat, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala. The decline in poverty in Punjab and Haryana was driven by high agricultural growth rates after the green revolution in India.
In West Bengal, the decline in poverty is associated with land reforms that aimed to improve the condition of small farmers and agricultural workers. In Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, a well-implemented public distribution system of food grains is the cause of the decline in poverty.
Kerala has the highest literacy rate in India for both its male and female population. This focus on education, and training and development of human resources has led to the decline in poverty in Kerala.