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First, the $1/day metric is an arbitrary ceiling for "extreme poverty". As other WB studies show, the *distribution* of poverty is more disturbing: http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-fa... (NB: different PPP baseline and techniques).
Secondly, in an environment where most of the world's poor were rural farmers, $1/day was a threshold for transition away from simple subsistence. Currently, many more of the world's poor have migrated to urban environments, and the same threshold may actually represent a deeper level of poverty than suffered by those rural farmers.
See http://www.paulpolak.com/ for a view from someone who has spent 30+ years in the field, facilitating change.