Towards Frequent and Accurate Poverty Data

OPHI Research in Progress

It is increasingly acknowledged that data availability plays a crucial role in the fight against poverty. Poverty data has increased in both quantity and frequency over the past 30 years, but still lags behind the data available on most other economic phenomena. Yet there are vibrant experiences that are often overlooked:

  • Data for monetary and multidimensional poverty dramatically increased since 1980.
  • Sixty countries already produce annual updates to key statistics.
  • Some have continuous household surveys with cost-cutting synergies.
  • International agencies have probed short surveys for comparable data.
  • Certain regions have agreed on harmonised variable definitions across countries.
  • New technologies can drastically reduce lags between data collection and analysis.

The post-2015 agenda identified the need for regularly updated data to monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This paper points out existing experiences that shed light on how to break the cycle of outdated poverty data and strengthen statistical systems. Such experiences show that it is possible to generate and analyse frequent and accurate poverty data that energizes and enables poverty eradication. 

Citation: Alkire, S. (2014). 'Towards frequent and accurate poverty data', OPHI Research in Progress 43b, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Oxford University.

Download supplementary data - Questionnaire (pdf) 

Download Supplementary Data - Survey Modules (pdf)

See also Research in Progress 43a and Research in Progress 43c.

Poverty measurement, poverty data, multidimensional poverty, post-2015 agenda, SDGs

Sabina Alkire
Series Name
OPHI Research in Progress Papers
Publication date
Publication Number
RP 43b