Multidimensional Poverty in Sri Lanka – Policy Briefing

Sri Lanka MPI 2021 briefing

Multidimensional Poverty in Sri Lanka presents findings from the first official National MPI and Child MPI for Sri Lanka. The Sri Lanka National MPI (NMPI) is the first MPI in the world to directly and fully link the measure of child poverty with national poverty, also known as the ‘drawer approach’. The individual and pioneering Child MPI for children aged 0–4, includes the same indicators as the National MPI, and adds a fourth dimension to cover undernutrition and early childhood development. This policy brief by the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) in the Ministry of Economic Policies and Plan Implementation, in partnership with UNICEF and OPHI, uses data from data from the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2019 (HIES 2019). 

Key findings include:

National MPI:

  • Approximately one out of every six (16.0%) people in Sri Lanka are multidimensionally poor.
  • More than half (51.3%) of all people living in estate areas are living in multidimensional poverty.
  • More than eight out of every ten (80.9%) people who are poor live in rural areas.
  • People aged 65 or over are the poorest age group in Sri Lanka, with the highest incidence (17.9%) as well as intensity of poverty and MPI.

Child MPI:

  • More than four out of every ten (42.2%) children under the age of five are multidimensionally poor.
  • One third (33.4%) of children aged 0–4 years old are multidimensionally poor and either underweight or stunted.
  • One sixth (16.4%) of children aged 0–4 years old are multidimensionally poor and deprived in early child development.
  • Nearly half of children 0–11 months (46.6%) and 4 years old (47.5%) are poor, mainly due to undernutrition and not attending pre-school (respectively).
  • There are no significant differences in poverty levels between girls and boys.

Citation: DCS, OPHI and UNICEF (2021). Multidimensional Poverty in Sri Lanka. Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) of the Government of Sri Lanka, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Colombo.

Download Multidimensional Poverty in Sri Lanka Policy Briefing (PDF).
More information on poverty via the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS).