BAGHDAD -- Iraqi government officials say that nearly one out of every four Iraqis is living below the poverty line, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.
Abdul-Zahra al-Hindawi, a spokesman for the Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology, told RFI that a survey conducted by the organization shows that 23 percent of Iraqis live on less than $65 per month. People living in rural areas are even poorer.
Hindawi added that poverty is most abject in southern provinces like Al-Muthanna, where 49 percent of the inhabitants live below the poverty line, and Babil, where 41 percent do.
The Salahudin Province, north of Baghdad, is also among Iraq's poorest regions.
Hindawi says the poverty figures fall sharply in the Kurdish provinces, where the economy and standards of living are on the rise.
He added that poverty overall in Iraq is not worse, on average, than it is in neighboring countries.