Category Archives: Publications

Multidimensional Poverty Reduction among Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper focuses on changes in multidimensional poverty as measured by the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (global MPI) in Sub-Saharan Africa. Using data for 35 countries, we describe the changes in level, intensity, and composition of multidimensional poverty at the national level. For a subset of countries we discuss results at the subnational level and provide a brief comparison to changes in income poverty. Our findings suggest that 30 countries, home to 92% of the population in our sample, significantly reduced multidimensional poverty as measured by the global MPI for at least one comparison and significantly reduced the share of poor people. Looking within countries, we find different patterns of poverty reduction, with some countries reducing poverty for the poorest regions while poorer regions in other countries do not seem to benefit from the general reduction in poverty to the same extent. When comparing trends in income and multidimensional poverty reduction we find significant differences, indicating that a holistic approach to poverty reduction should look at both multidimensional and income poverty.

Citation: Alkire, S., Jindra, C., Robles-Aguilar, G., and Vaz, A. (2017). ‘Multidimensional poverty reduction among countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.’ OPHI Working Paper 112, University of Oxford.

Walls of Glass. Measuring Deprivation in Social Participation

This paper proposes a measure for deprivation in social participation, an important but so far neglected dimension of human well-being. Operationalisation and empirical implementation of the measures are conceptually guided by the capability approach. Essentially, the paper argues that deprivation in social participation can often be convincingly established by drawing on extensive non-participation in customary social activities. In doing so, the present paper synthesises philosophical considerations, axiomatic research on poverty and deprivation, previous empirical research on social exclusion and subjective well-being. An empirical application illustrates the measurement approach using high-quality survey data for Germany. To evaluate the validity of the proposed measures, I also explore the empirical relation to adjacent concepts including material deprivation, income poverty, other potential determinants of social participation, and life satisfaction using regression techniques.

Citation: Suppa, N. (2017). ‘Walls of glass. Measuring deprivation in social participation.’ OPHI Research in Progress 49a, University of Oxford.

Defining MPI Dimensions through Participation: The Case of El Salvador

OPHI Briefing 49 (pdf, 4pp)

How to choose dimensions and indicators that better target public policies? This question was asked in El Salvador in the early stages of creating the MPI-ES. Several paths were tested. There were many suggestions for dimensions and indicators. But, understanding that poverty is more than income level, which dimensional deprivations are felt most by the poor population? To answer this question, El Salvador conducted a participatory process that was instrumental in defining the dimensions and indicators of the final index.

Author: Carolina Moreno

Year: 2017

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017 (2 page briefing)

OPHI Briefing 48 (pdf)

The global MPI is a new generation of multidimensional measures that supports key priorities in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). High-resolution poverty diagnostics are needed to leave no one behind. The global MPI is disaggregated by children, disability status, sub-national regions and rural/urban areas. Linked indices of destitution and severe poverty highlight the very poorest. The SDGs call for analyses of interlinkages across indicators, and the global MPI is built upon household-level multidimensional poverty profiles. The SDGs advocate integrated multisectoral policies. The global MPI unfolds to show the composition of poverty by indicator nationally, and in every disaggregated group.

Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles

Year: 2017

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2017 (16 page briefing)

OPHI Briefing 47 (pdf)

The 2017 global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) provides a headline estimation of poverty and its composition for 103 countries across the world. The global MPI measures the nature and intensity of poverty, based on the profile of overlapping deprivations each poor person experiences. It aggregates these into meaningful indexes that can be used to inform targeting and resource allocation and to design policies that tackle the interlinked dimensions of poverty together.

Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles

Year: 2017

Children’s Multidimensional Poverty: disaggregating the global MPI, Briefing 46

Brief46_thumbOPHI Briefing 46

With the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the international community affirmed the importance of eradicating child poverty, identifying within Goal 1 the need to reduce the proportion of men, women and children living in multidimensional poverty. The international definition of a child, also used here, is anyone less than 18 years of age.

Authors: Sabina Alkire, Christoph Jindra, Gisela Robles, Ana Vaz

Year: 2017

Multidimensional Poverty Index – Summer 2017: Brief Methodological Note and Results

MPI Briefing 44 (pdf)

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) Summer 2017 updates use the same parameters (dimensions, indicators, cutoffs and weights) and the same functional form (Alkire and Foster Adjusted Headcount Ratio M0) as in previous years. This brief methodological note presents the Summer 2017 MPI updates, and releases the tables with the full results: national MPI, destitution and vulnerability results, rural, urban, subnational region, changes over time, and complete estimations, as well as complementary data, dimensional breakdowns, and confidence intervals. Destitution data are now available for 102 countries. It first explains the main updates in the Summer 2017 MPI, following the guidelines for updates presented in the 2014 Methodological Note (Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b). It uses the MPI methodology that has been presented in detail in previous methodological notes (Alkire and Santos 2010; Alkire, Roche, Santos and Seth 2011; Alkire, Conconi and Roche 2013; Alkire, Conconi and Seth 2014b; Alkire and Robles 2015; Alkire, Jindra, Robles and Vaz 2016). Then it briefly describes the methodological assumptions considered for the estimation of each dataset. The results of these estimations are presented in the form of 7 main tables, 103 country briefings and the interactive databank, all available on OPHI’s website (

Authors: Sabina Alkire and Gisela Robles

Year: 2017

How poor are People with Disabilities around the Globe? A Multidimensional Perspective

People with disabilities and their families have been recognised as a high risk population and are particularly likely to be poor and deprived (Mitra, Posarac, & Vick, 2013). Although the number of studies analysing the levels of poverty of this group has increased in the last decade, there is still a lack of empirical evidence that establishes whether and how people with disabilities are significantly poorer (Groce, Kembhavi, et al., 2011). This study aims to analyse the levels of multidimensional poverty of people living in households with members with disabilities, in 11 developing countries from different regions of the world. Using the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (Global MPI), the incidence and intensity of multidimensional poverty of people living in households with and without members with disabilities were calculated and rigorously compared the poverty levels experienced by people living in households in which no member has disabilities. In addition, it studies the levels of destitution and the percentage of individuals living in households with members with disabilities facing severe multidimensional poverty. The results reveal that people living in households with disabled members in four countries face significantly higher levels of multidimensional poverty. These households also contribute more to the national levels of multidimensional poverty than their share in the population. More worryingly, a large percentage of households are not only severely multidimensionally poor but also destitute. It is important to highlight that if disability questions are consistently included in future international multi-topic surveys, these kinds of empirical explorations could become widespread, providing the information required to support households whose members have disabilities and are multidimensionally poor.

Pinilla-Roncancio, M. and Alkire, S. (2017). ‘How poor are people with disabilities around the globe? A multidimensional perspective.’ OPHI Research in Progress 48a, University of Oxford.

National Roundtable & Dashboard for Poverty Reduction in Colombia

Brief45_thumbOPHI Briefing 45

Colombia launched its official multidimensional poverty measure in 2011 – the Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index (C-MPI).[1]  The index was first used to establish specific policy goals for multidimensional poverty reduction (headcount ratio) as well as sector-specific targets within the National Development Plan – a mandatory and binding strategy that all incoming administrations must have approved by Congress at the beginning of their mandate.

Authors: Diego Zavaleta,  Roberto Angulo

Year: 2017

CONEVAL: institution-building for multidimensional poverty measurement in Mexico

OPHI briefing 44 OPHI briefing 44

In the early 2000s, Mexico launched a process of institution-building for its social development policy and the formulation of an official poverty measure, which led to the creation of the National Council for the Evaluation of Social Development Policy (CONEVAL) and the establishment of the first official multidimensional poverty measure in the world. Today, CONEVAL generates official multidimensional poverty estimates with representative data every two years at the state level and every five at the municipal level.

Authors: Diego Zavaleta, Carolina Moreno

Year: 2017