Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Multi-Dimensional Poverty

Dear Readers,

I read an article "New poverty index finds Indian states worse than Africa" comparing poverty rates in Africa and South Asia.

Obviously, the population of India is enormous (even more so with greater South Asia--I think Bangladesh is the most densely populated country in the world), and the African continent is actually fairly sparsely populated (its a big place).

The thing I want to think about is--how do you measure poverty? I've always had some problems measuring poverty based on income, since in many places, people still trade in services, or can have a subsistence lifestyle. Obviously, there is a limit to my own skepticism, since there are certainly all kinds of inequality out there.

I'd like to know more about the Multi-Dimensional Poverty methodology--do you know something about it?

From the article "The MPI will be used in the forthcoming 20th anniversary edition of the UNDP Human Development Report. It supplants the Human Poverty Index, which has been used since 1997."

"The index takes into account that people living in MPI poverty may not necessarily be income poor: only two-thirds of Niger's people are income poor, whereas 93 per cent are poor by the MPI, it found."

The project I am working on is based on the idea that two of the things the poor need to improve their situation is assets, and financial education. Do you agree?



  1. Poverty begins with your state of mind and how your perceive yourself. People who do not have the financial means but more importantly do not have the wherewithall to do better financially. I am sure you have heard many people say we were poor but we didn't know it. Although money was not available, hope was not lost. Poverty is not one dimensional nor is it just tangible. How does one measure emotions, despair and lack of self-worth and insecurity.

  2. You can find out more about the Multidimensional Poverty Index here: - it includes assets and education.

    The site also includes stories of people who are MPI poor. What is poverty? to some extent it depends upon a person's values and the values of their family and culture. But some core aspects like malnutrition or not having clean drinking water can be measured internationally.