Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

What is the global MPI?

The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person faces simultaneously.

Global Multidimensional Poverty Index: dimensions and indicators of poverty

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Source: OPHI (2018). Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2018: The Most Detailed Picture to Date of the World’s Poorest People. Report. Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

TABLE: Global MPI – Dimensions, Indicators, Deprivation Cutoffs, and Weights

NutritionAny person under 70 years of age for whom there is nutritional information is undernourished.1/6SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Child mortalityA child under 18 has died in the household in the five-year period preceding the survey.1/6SDG 3: Health and Well-being
Education (1/3)Years of schoolingNo eligible household member has completed six years of schooling.1/6SDG 4:
School attendanceAny school-aged child is not attending school up to the age at which he/she would complete class 8.1/6SDG 4:
Living Standards (1/3)Cooking fuelA household cooks using solid fuel, such as dung, agricultural crop, shrubs, wood, charcoal, or coal.1/18SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
SanitationThe household has unimproved or no sanitation facility or it is improved but shared with other households.1/18SDG 6:
Clean Water
and Sanitation
Drinking waterThe household’s source of drinking water is not safe or safe drinking water is a 30-minute or longer walk from home, roundtrip.1/18SDG 6:
Clean Water
and Sanitation
ElectricityThe household has no electricity.1/18SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
HousingThe household has inadequate housing materials in any of the three components: floor, roof, or walls.1/18SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
AssetsThe household does not own more than one of these assets: radio, TV, telephone, computer, animal cart, bicycle, motorbike, or refrigerator, and does not own a car or truck.1/18SDG 1:
No Poverty

Source: Alkire, S., Kanagaratnam, U. and Suppa, N. (2020). ‘The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): 2020 revision’, OPHI MPI Methodological Note 49, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford.

The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If a person is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global MPI identifies them as ‘MPI poor’. The extent – or intensity – of their poverty is also measured through the percentage of deprivations they are experiencing.

The global MPI shows who is poor and how they are poor and can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty. It permits comparisons both across countries and world regions, and within countries by ethnic group, urban/rural area, subnational region, and age group, as well as other key household and community characteristics. For each group and for countries as a whole, the composition of MPI by each of the 10 indicators shows how people are poor.

This makes the MPI and its linked information platform invaluable as an analytical tool to identify the most vulnerable people – the poorest among the poor, revealing poverty patterns within countries and over time, enabling policy makers to target resources and design policies more effectively.

The global MPI was developed by OPHI with the UN Development Programme (UNDP) for inclusion in UNDP’s flagship Human Development Report in 2010. It has been published annually by OPHI and in the HDRs ever since.