The World’s Poor – The OPHI Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative recently released its latest key findings for the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). As discussed in an earlier post, the MPI is a measure of poverty designed to capture the multiple deprivations that each poor person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and other aspects of living standards. The MPI reflects both the incidence of multidimensional poverty (the proportion of people in a population who are multidimensionally poor), and its intensity (the average number of deprivations each poor person experiences at the same time). It is especially useful since it may be utilized to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries, regions and the world, and within countries by ethnic group, urban/rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics.

Key findings from the updated MPI include:

  • Of the 1.6 billion people living in multidimensional poverty, 54% live in South Asia, and 31% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Most (62%) MPI poor people do not live in failed states. However, in countries classified as in very high alert by the Fragile States Index, on average 72% of people are multidimensionally poor.
  • Most MPI poor people – 70% – live in Middle Income Countries.
  • The global MPI complements $1.25/day poverty, making visible other types of poverty. For example in Chad and Ethiopia, the incidence of MPI is about 87% whereas for $1.25/day poverty it is only 37%.
  • Nearly half of all MPI poor people live with such extreme deprivations – like severe malnutrition or no more than one year of education in the household – that they should be considered destitute – 736 million people.

Last, the 10 countries with the lowest scores on the MPI were (in descending order, and with MPI figures in brackets):

  • Mali (0.457)
  • Guinea (0.459)
  • Guinea-Bissau (0.462)
  • Sierra Leone (0.464)
  • Somalia (0.514)
  • Burkina Faso (0.535)
  • Chad (0.554)
  • South Sudan (0.557)
  • Ethiopia (0.564)
  • Niger (0.605)

Table 1 – OPHI: Multidimensional Poverty Index – 2015

graph poverty

 

 

Overall, poverty remains the gravest human rights challenge facing the world today. In combating poverty, the world has “a moral obligation to look more deeply at the issues of poverty so the most marginalised groups or regions [are] not left behind.” The OPHI’s Multidimensional Poverty Index shows not only who is poor but also in what ways, ultimately helping to better understand poverty and shape more effective policies and reduction measures.

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