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This blog piece was posted by Communications Intern Hilde Faugli.
The UNDP has just released a new indicator for measuring poverty – will it make any difference?
The Multidimensional Poverty Indicator, or MPI for short, was launched earlier this month, and promises to be better suited as a tool for allocating funding for development programs etc. The MPI assesses a range of deprivations at the household level, from sanitation and nutrition, child mortality and schooling, to cooking fuel and drinking water.
“The MPI provides a fuller measure of poverty than the traditional dollar-a-day formulas. It is a valuable addition to the family of instruments we use to examine broader aspects of well-being, including UNDP’s Human Development Index and other measures of inequality across the population and between genders,” Jeni Klugman, Director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office and the principal author of this year’s report, said.
The MPI can be broken down into different population subgroups and by dimension to see what type of deprivation is affecting different regions or groups.
Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), which has developed the indicator with UNDP support, has analyzed poverty levels in 104 countries using the new indicator. The result is a pretty staggering number of 1.7 billion people living in poverty. Using the more common extreme poverty measure, “1$/day“ (which has actually now been put up to 1.25$/day), the figure would be ‘only’ 1.3 billion.
Looking at India, one of the countries we are working in, the MPI poverty rate is 55%, compared with 42% counted as poor according to the 1.25$/day measure. The MPI also reveals that the rural areas are more affected than the urban, and that nutrition, child enrollment, child mortality and schooling are the prime contributors to deprivation in the country.