Category Archives: Special Publications

Using multidimensional poverty and vulnerability indices to inform equitable policies and interventions in health emergencies

Health emergencies pose serious threats to human lives and livelihoods, including immediate threats to health, survival, the economy and social life. WHO and OPHI have been collaborating to explore how the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (global MPI) and national Multidimensional Poverty or Vulnerability Indices (MPIs or MVIs) – could be or are already being used in health emergencies and to address health components of humanitarian crises.

This Research Brief provides an overview of their use, with the goal of sharing insights and lessons learned, as well as informing further exploration, based on how MPIs and MVIs have been used in Afghanistan, Colombia, Honduras, Iraq and the South Asia region during the COVID-19 pandemic. MPIs and MVIs capture the overlapping deprivations that people experience. They identify who is particularly disadvantaged or vulnerable by integrating information on the many dimensions of human development into a more holistic overall assessment, going beyond income or consumption. In particular, four ways of using multidimensional measures for health emergency preparedness, response and recovery are presented. (1) Constructing MVIs that capture overlapping vulnerabilities and provide information that identifies the most vulnerable and the main indicators increasing their vulnerability; (2) Using existing MPIs to inform the preparation for, response to and recovery from health emergencies; (3) Merging MPIs or MVIs with aggregate-level data to associate multidimensional measures with other indicators relevant in the context of health emergencies; (4) Microsimulating how people’s vulnerabilities or deprivations might be impacted by shocks, such as those associated with a health emergency. The use of multidimensional measures in the context of health emergencies is new. It is a field that invites further study, discussion and exploration.

Citation: WHO (2021). Using multidimensional poverty and vulnerability indices to inform equitable policies and interventions in health emergencies. Research brief. World Health Organization.

Download Using multidimensional poverty and vulnerability indices to inform equitable policies and interventions in health emergencies.

Also available on WHO website.

Global MPI 2021 – Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste and gender

The joint OPHI and UNDP global MPI report, Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021 – Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste and gender, presents the key findings of the global MPI 2021. The analyses:

  • Provide estimates on multidimensional poverty for 109 developing countries (with data from surveys ranging 2009–2019/2020);
  • Include trends over time for 80 countries, for a range of periods between 2000–2019/2020;
  • Present multidimensional poverty estimates disaggregated by ethnicity and caste for 41 countries to identify who is – and how people are – being left behind;
  • Explore intrahousehold analysis with a gender lens;
  • Reveal how multidimensional poverty could amplify the impacts of COVID-19 shocks, hurting education, employment and livelihood.

Citation: UNDP and OPHI (2021). Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021 – Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste and gender. United Nations Development Programme and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Download the English version of the Global MPI 2021 report Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste and gender.

Download the French version of the Global MPI 2021 report L’indice global de pauvreté multidimensionnelle 2021
Lever le voile sur les disparités selon l’appartenance ethnique, la caste et le genre.

Download the Spanish version of the Global MPI 2021 report Índice de Pobreza Multidimensional global 2021: Desvelar las disparidades de etnia, casta y género.

Download the ethnicity tables ‘Multidimensional Poverty Index results by ethnic group 2021’.

Interlinkages Between Multidimensional Poverty and Electricity

Nearly a billion people living in developing countries still lack access to electricity, which is essential to power modern economies, healthcare and education. More than half of those without power today are children under 18, undermining their opportunity to ready, study or play after sunset. In a quarter of the subnational regions covered by the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), electricity as a basic commodity is absent for two-thirds or more of the population.

‘Interlinkages between multidimensional poverty and electricity: a study using the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI)’ extends the analysis of global MPI microdata to explore the interlinkages between deprivation in electricity and other indicators related to health, education and living standards. The analysis identifies the most common simultaneous deprivations that people who are also electricity deprived experience in their everyday lives. It also looks at the relationship between electricity and poverty and economic development, measured using a multidimensional approach. The report identifies the distinctive profile of those who are poor and deprived in electricity, as well as examining a subset of countries to understand improvement in electricity access over time.

The findings of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s report show the interlinkages between electricity and multiple indicators of poverty, making the case for universal electrification as a path for more rapid and inclusive economic development.

Download the Interlinkages between Multidimensional Poverty and Electricity report

Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index 2012

Women play a critical and potentially transformative role in agricultural growth in developing countries, but they face persistent obstacles and economic constraints limiting further inclusion in agriculture.

The WEAI measures the empowerment, agency, and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector in an effort to identify ways to overcome those obstacles and constraints. The Index is a significant innovation in its field and aims to increase understanding of the connections between women’s empowerment, food security, and agricultural growth.

The WEAI is a composite measurement tool that indicates women’s control over critical parts of their lives in the household, community, and economy. It allows us to identify women who are disempowered and understand how to increase autonomy and decision-making in key domains. It is also a useful tool for tracking progress toward gender equality, which is one of the Millennium Development Goals.

OPHI collaborated with USAID and the IFPRI to develop the innovative index.

Download the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index 2012 brochure.

Measuring Progress Toward Empowerment – Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index: Baseline Report

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) is a ground-breaking tool to measure the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector.

Launched in March 2012 by OPHI with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the WEAI tracks women’s engagement in agriculture in five areas: production, resources, income, leadership, and time use. Unlike any other tool, it also measures women’s empowerment relative to men within their households, providing a more robust understanding of gender dynamics within households and communities.

Read more about WEAI
Download the WEAIL Baseline Report 2014

COVID-19 y la Pobreza Multidimensional en Republica Dominicana: Simulación del Efecto de la Pandemia en la Pobreza Multidimensional en República Dominicana

This report (in Spanish) presents simulations of the possible impacts of COVID-19 on multidimensional poverty in the Dominican Republic. The report uses the official Multidimensional Poverty Index for the Dominican Republic (IPM-RD), which was launched in 2017 and updated in 2020. The report examines six possible scenarios of how a change in indicator deprivations could affect the MPI. The deprivations examined are: 1) access to health services in the event of illness, 2) health insurance, 3) access to food, 4) school attendance or dropout, 5) family support and 6) informality. For each scenario, the analysis considers three possible magnitudes: mild (25%), moderate (50%) and severe (75%). In all scenarios and magnitudes, an increase in the incidence of multidimensional poverty is observed and the estimated effect is statistically significant. The three major effects on multidimensional poverty are related to the increase in deprivation of access to medical services due to illness, followed by family support and school attendance.

Download the Dominican Republic report here.

Global MPI 2020 – Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs

The joint OPHI and UNDP global MPI report, Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2020 – Charting Pathways out of Multidimensional Poverty: Achieving the SDGs, presents the key findings of the global MPI 2020 and the first comprehensive study of harmonized MPI trends, also known as Changes over Time, indicating that 65 out of 75 countries reduced MPI significantly.

It explores whether before the pandemic countries were on or off track to halve multidimensional poverty by 2030 – a challenge set by SDG 1 – and finds 47 countries were on track. In the context of the current pandemic, the report simulates possible impacts of COVID-19 on multidimensional poverty, finding that, if unaddressed, it could set progress back by up to a decade. Finally, linkages between the global MPI and other SDG indicators related to climate, work, immunization, higher education, and urban/rural areas bring together multiple perspectives on pressing issues in development. Our analysis covers the significant progress in poverty reduction made by some countries in the past twenty years, but it is clear that decisive action is needed more than ever to sustain progress and ensure no one is left behind.

Citation: UNDP and OPHI (2020). Global Multidimensional Poverty index 2020 – Charting Pathways out of Multidimensional Poverty: Achieving the SDGs. Report. Unite Nations Development Programme and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.

Download the English version of the Global MPI 2020 report Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs

Download the French version of the Global MPI 2020 report Tracer la voie hors de la pauvreté multidimensionnelle: réaliser les Objectifs de développement durable

Download the Spanish version of the Global MPI 2020 report Trazar caminos para salir de la pobreza multidimensional: Lograr los ODS

Multi-Dimensional Poverty Profile in Palestine, 2017

This report presents the findings of the national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for the State of Palestine. The Palestinian MPI was developed by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) with technical support from the National Team for Poverty Combating and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

This report is the first that addresses multidimensional poverty in the State of Palestine, and responds to a decree issued by the Palestinian Council of Ministers to evaluate multidimensional poverty within the preparation framework for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Palestinian National Policy Agenda (NPA).

The Palestinian MPI consists of seven dimensions tailored to the particular context of Palestine. Six of these dimensions comprise the social well-being component and cover 21 indicators in education, health, employment, housing conditions and access to services, safety and use of assets, and personal freedom. A seventh dimension—monetary poverty—captures economic well-being using the national poverty line. The Palestinian MPI uses 2016/17 PECS survey data with substantial revisions on the household part of the instrument.

Key findings based on 2016/2017 data include:

  • The overall incidence of multidimensional poverty was 24%, which is slightly lower than the monetary poverty line (29%).
  • In terms of incidence, multidimensional poverty in the Gaza Strip is four times (45%) as prevalent as in the West Bank (11%).
  • The intensity of multidimensional poverty in Palestine is 42.4%. People in poverty face on average 42.4% of the weighted sum of indicators. The disparity in incidence between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank is not reflected in the intensity of poverty which is 43.3% in the Gaza Strip and 40.0% in the West Bank.
  • Overall, the MPI is 0.102. This sets a baseline for future comparisons.
  • Poverty is more severe in refugee camps than in urban and rural areas. The incidence of poverty is 39% in refugee camps, whereas it is 14% in rural areas and 24% in urban areas. 

Read more and download the report here.

National Multidimensional Poverty in Maldives 2020

National Multidimensional Poverty in Maldives 2020

This report presents the findings of the national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for Maldives. The Maldives MPI was developed by the National Bureau of Statistics in partnership with the UNICEF Regional Office South Asia (ROSA) and UNICEF Maldives with technical support from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

The results are based on data from the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) 2016/17. The Maldives MPI tracks eight indicators relating to three dimensions: health, education and information, and living standards.

The MPI provides a tool to coordinate the efforts of multisectoral agencies working towards reducing inequality and poverty in the Strategic Action Plan 2019–2023, which is now being implemented in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Key findings based on data 2016/2017 include:

  • The incidence of poverty (H) in Maldives was 28%, and the average intensity (A) was 51%.The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which is the product of H and A, was 0.145.
  • In Maldives, more people were living in multidimensional poverty (28%) than monetary poverty (8% were living below the poverty line of MVR 74).
  • The report indicates that 87% of people who are multidimensionally poor were living in the Atolls, but only 13% on the populous capital island of Male’.
  • At the national level, years of schooling contributed the most to overall poverty in Maldives at 19%, and access to health contributed 16%.
  • Children have been bearing the greatest burden of poverty and have a higher likelihood of being multidimensionally poorer than any other age group, with one third of 0–17 year olds living in MPI poor households.

Download the Maldives report.

Multidimensional Poverty Index Report 2019: Seychelles

This report presents the findings of the national MPI for Seychelles. The Seychelles MPI was developed by the Poverty Alleviation Department and the National Bureau of Statistics of Seychelles with technical support from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI). As a high-income country, and a Small Island Developing State, the challenges faced by Seychelles in poverty reduction are different from other contexts. Seychelles’ MPI, which includes innovative indicators on obesity, substance abuse and crime, can help policymakers identify those being left behind and target their programmes more effectively.

Key findings include:

  • In the third quarter of 2019, the poverty incidence (H) was 11.88%, and the average intensity (A) was 33.26%. The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which is the product of H and A (H*A) was 0.040.
  • Those living in the largest households may be more likely to experience multidimensional poverty (with a headcount ratio of 31.15%), than those living in the smallest households (with a headcount ratio of 4.89%).
  • Multidimensional poverty is more prevalent among the unemployed (with a headcount ratio of 57.35%), than among those who are employed and those who are outside the labour force. 
  • The lower the education level (no schooling), the higher the headcount ratio (34.58%). The same pattern can be observed in the MPI, whereby those with no schooling, has the highest MPI (0.115), and the MPI decreases as the education level increases.

Download the Seychelles report here.