Global MPI pinpoints where people are most deprived in different indicators of poverty

The poorest region in the world overall is Salamat in south-east Chad, but OPHI’s analysis of the updated Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) also shows which sub-national regions have the highest rates of deprivation in particular indicators of poverty.

Using the Winter 2014/2015 updates of the Global MPI, OPHI researchers have been able to look beyond national averages of poverty to more effectively identify where the poorest people in the world live, and how they are poor. The MPI is a measure of poverty that combines simultaneous disadvantages experienced by the poor across different areas of their lives, including education, health and living standards. If people are deprived in one-third or more of ten weighted indicators, they are identified as multidimensionally poor.

The MPI can be broken down to reveal the proportion of multidimensionally poor people in a country or sub-national region that are deprived in each  indicator of poverty. The researchers found that, of 803 sub-national regions studied, the region with the highest rates of people who are multidimensionally poor and simultaneously deprived in nutrition is Affar in Ethiopia, and that with most child mortality is Nord-Ouest in Cote d’Ivoire. Karamoja in Uganda is the most deprived region for sanitation, and Wad Fira in Chad for drinking water, electricity and years of schooling. Androy in Madagascar has the highest rates of people who are poor and don’t own any assets, and Kuntuar in Gambia has lowest rates of school attendance. Interestingly, none of these regions is Salamat in Chad. In Salamat, however, there are consistently high rates of deprivation in many different indicators at the same time.

Salamat’s 2010 MPI report shows that nearly 98% of its 354,000 inhabitants are multidimensionally poor. On average, each poor person in Salamat is deprived in nearly 75% of the MPI indicators, which also makes it the region with the highest intensity of poverty. In fact, three of the five poorest regions included in the study are in Chad and two are in Burkina Faso.

However, significantly, the poorest country overall is neither of these – it is Niger.

The updated Global Multidimensional Poverty Index now covers 110 developing countries, and 803 regions in 72 of these countries. The analysis is of data ranging from 2002 to 2014, mainly collected by UNICEF’s Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey and USAID’s Demographic and Health Survey. The MPI is published in UNDP’s Human Development Reports.

Download OPHI’s briefing paper on the latest Global MPI results

‘High visibility: How disaggregated metrics help to reduce multidimensional poverty’ was published on 7 January 2015.

Further resources

Download individual country briefings for Chad, Ethiopia, Cote d’Ivoire, Uganda, Madagascar and Gambia and visit OPHI’s online interactive databank for maps and graphs showing the level and composition of multidimensional poverty across different countries and sub-national regions.