2020 release of the Global MPI 2020

16 July 2020 – The 2020 global Multidimensional Poverty Index launches today. New figures released by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) show that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, progress was being made in tackling multidimensional poverty. Now – without decisive action – that progress is at risk.

2020 marks the ten year anniversary since the global MPI was first launched in partnership with the UNDP’s Human Development Report Office (HDRO). This year’s joint report provides a comprehensive overview of multidimensional poverty in the developing world.

The joint global MPI 2020 report profiles a global study covering 5 billion people of harmonised trends in multidimensional poverty showing that 65 out of the 75 countries studied significantly reduced their multidimensional poverty levels between 2000 and 2019.

The report explores if countries, before the pandemic, were on track to halve their multidimensional poverty if observed trends continued, finding that 47 out of 75 countries were on track.

In the context of COVID-19, the report offers simulations of the possible impacts of the pandemic on the global MPI. While data are not yet available to measure the rise of global poverty after the pandemic, simulations based on different scenarios suggest that, if unaddressed, progress across 70 countries could be set back 3–10 years.

A decade away from the targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the report concludes with an in-depth analysis of multidimensional poverty from the perspective of a selection of SDGs.

Findings from the report will be discussed live online at 4.30pm today BST in a ceremony chaired by Achim Steiner, the Administrator of UNDP. The event will feature high-level speakers from Bangladesh, Panama, the UN, the World Bank and the World Health Organisation.

Selected key findings from the global MPI 2020 report:

  • Across 107 developing countries and 5.9 billion people, 1.3 billion people—22 percent—live in multidimensional poverty.
  • Children show higher rates of multidimensional poverty: half of multidimensionally poor people (644 million) are children under age 18. One in three children is poor compared with one in six adults.
  • About 84 percent of multidimensionally poor people live in Sub-Saharan Africa (558 million) and South Asia (530 million). Two-thirds of multidimensionally poor people live in middle-income countries.
  • 71 percent of the 5.9 billion people covered in the global MPI experience at least one deprivation; however, the average number of deprivations they experience is five.
  • 107 million multidimensionally poor people are age 60 or older—a particularly importantly figure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 65 countries reduced their Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) significantly in absolute terms. Those countries are home to 96 percent of the population of the 75 countries studied for poverty trends.
  • Four countries halved their MPI value. India (2005/06–2015/16) did so nationally and among children and had the biggest reduction in the number of multidimensionally poor people (over 270 million).
  • In nearly a third of the countries studied, either there was no reduction in multidimensional poverty for children, or the MPI fell more slowly for children than for adults.
  • The countries with the fastest absolute reduction in MPI were Sierra Leone, Mauritania and Liberia, followed by Timor-Leste, Guinea and Rwanda. The fastest, Sierra Leone (2013–2017), did so during the Ebola epidemic. North Macedonia had the fastest relative poverty reduction, followed by China, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Turkmenistan and Mongolia. Each of these countries cut its original MPI value by at least 12 percent a year.
  • Pre-COVID-19, 47 countries were on track to halve poverty between 2015 and 2030, if observed trends continued. But 18 countries, including some of the poorest, were off track.
  • Simulations based on anticipated impacts of the pandemic on just two indicators of the global MPI – nutrition and school attendance – suggest that, if unaddressed, the crisis might erase up to a decade’s worth of gains.
  • There is a negative, moderate but statistically significant correlation between the incidence of multidimensional poverty and the coverage of three doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DTP3) vaccine.
  • In Sub-Saharan Africa 71.9 percent of people in rural areas (466 million people) are multidimensionally poor compared with 25.2 percent (92 million people) in urban areas.
  • Environmental deprivations are most acute in Sub-Saharan Africa: at least 53.9 percent of the population (547 million people) is multidimensionally poor and faces at least one environmental deprivation. Environmental deprivations are also high in South Asia: at least 26.8 percent of the population (486 million people) is multidimensionally poor and lacks access to one of the three environment indicators.

More information on the global MPI 2020 reportGlobal Multidimensional Poverty Index 2020: Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs’:

About the global MPI
The global MPI is a measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 countries in the developing world. It complements global monetary poverty statistics, such as the $1.90 a day measure, by capturing more information on the nature of people’s poverty. It measures the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person may face simultaneously. The global MPI issues headline statistics for each country that can be unpacked to show who is poor and how they are poor, all of which is vital for informed policy reduction policies.

Media enquiries
Please contact maya.evans@qeh.ox.ac.uk in the UK; anna.ortubia@undp.org in the US.