Counting and Multidimensional Poverty Measurement

OPHI Working Papers

This paper proposes a new methodology for multidimensional poverty measurement consisting of an identification method ρκ that extends traditional approaches, and a class of poverty measures Mα that satisfies several desirable properties including decomposability. Our identification step employs two forms of cutoff: one within each dimension and a second across dimensions that identifies the poor by counting their deprivations. We aggregate using Foster-Greer-Thorbecke measures adjusted for multidimensionality. Our adjusted headcount ratio is well suited for use with ordinal data. Examples from Indonesia and the US illustrate our methodology.

Authors: Sabina Alkire and James Foster

Year: 2008

Citation: Alkire, S. and Foster, J. (2007, revised in 2008). 'Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement', OPHI Working Paper 07, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford.

Spanish version: Recuento y Medición Multidimensional de la Pobreza

See also an abridged version of this paper from 2009, OPHI Working Paper 32 (2009) and OPHI Research in Progress 1a.

Also published in Journal of Public Economics, 2011, Vol. 95(7–8), pp. 476–487.

poverty measurement, multidimensional poverty, capability approach, deprivation, identification, poverty indices, FGT measures, decomposability, ordinal, cardinal, relative weights, axiomatic structure, freedom


Sabina Alkire and James Foster

Series Name
OPHI Working Papers
Publication date
JEL Codes
I3, I32, D63, O1
Publication Number
WP 07