BRIEF

Multidimensional Poverty Measure


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What is the Multidimensional Poverty Measure?
  • A measure of poverty that captures deprivations in education and access to basic infrastructure in addition to income or consumption at the $1.90 international poverty line
  • A means to capture the complexity and persistence of poverty by highlighting additional deprivations experienced by the poor in addition to the extreme poverty threshold of $1.90

The Multidimensional Poverty Measure (MPM) seeks to understand poverty beyond monetary deprivations (which remain the focal point of the World Bank’s monitoring of global poverty) by including access to education and basic infrastructure along with the monetary headcount ratio at the $1.90 international poverty line.

The World Bank’s measure takes inspiration and guidance from other prominent global multidimensional measures, particularly the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by UNDP and Oxford University but differs from them in one important aspect: it includes monetary poverty (less than $1.90 per day) as one of the dimensions. Under this broader definition of poverty, many more people come into view as poor. 

While monetary poverty is strongly correlated with deprivations in other domains, this correlation is far from perfect. The Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020 report (World Bank, 2020) shows that over a third of those experiencing multidimensional poverty are not captured by the monetary headcount ratio, in line with prior editions of the report (World Bank, 2018). A country’s MPM is at least as high as or higher than monetary poverty, reflecting the additional role of nonmonetary dimensions to poverty and their importance to general well-being. By incorporating the different dimensions, the MPM can present the extent to which these deprivations arise and overlap.

Latest MPM Data

The April 2022 update presents the 3rd edition of the World Bank’s Multidimensional Poverty Measure (MPM). This edition includes the most recent data for 150 economies. A major update to the MPM database happens around March of every year (with a possibility of a smaller update in September of some years). 

Learn more about the MPM methodology and information on the current edition is this What’s New brief.

Download the latest data on the multidimensional poverty measure

(available in .pdf and .xlsx).

Download historical MPM data

All historical spells

Last Updated: Apr 30, 2022


Interactive dashboards for visualizing the latest MPM data and exploring MPM with different weights and deprivation thresholds

Methodology and Usage

The data for the MPM is derived from harmonized surveys in the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Database. The latest estimates for the world are available for circa 2018, using household survey data collected within a three-year window between 2015 to 2021.

The MPM is composed of six indicators: consumption or income, educational attainment, educational enrollment, drinking water, sanitation, and electricity. These are mapped into three dimensions of well-being: monetary, education, and basic infrastructure services.  

The three MPM dimensions are weighted equally, and within each dimension each indicator is also weighted equally. Individuals are considered multidimensionally deprived if they fall short of the threshold in at least one dimension or in a combination of indicators equivalent in weight to a full dimension. (See Table1). In other words, households will be considered poor if they are deprived in indicators whose weight adds up to 1/3 or more. Because the monetary dimension is measured using only one indicator, anyone who is income poor is automatically also poor under the multidimensional poverty measure.

Table 1. Multidimensional Poverty Measure Indicators and Weights

Dimension Parameter Weight
Monetary Daily consumption or income is less than $ 1.90 per person. 1/3
Education At least one school-age child up to the age of grade 8 is not enrolled in school. 1/6
  No adult in the household (age of grade 9 or above) has completed primary education. 1/6
Access to basic infrastructure The household lacks access to limited-standard drinking water. 1/9
 

The household lacks access to limited-standard sanitation.

1/9
  The household has no access to electricity. 1/9

Source: World Bank, 2018

Summarizing the information on the different deprivations into a single index proves useful in making comparisons across populations and across time. However, any aggregation of indicators into a single index invariably involves a decision on how each of the indicators is to be weighted.

Not all countries have current and comparable data on all the above dimensions, making it challenging to construct a multidimensional poverty measure, especially at the global level. The latest estimates for the world are available for 2009 (an update from Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report, 2020), using household survey data from 150 economies standardized in the World Bank’s Global Monitoring Database.

More details on the methodology of the MPM are available here.

What does multidimensional poverty look like around the world?

At a global level, the share of the poor is 50 percent higher when education and basic infrastructure are added alongside monetary poverty — from 11.5 percent living below $1.90 per day to 17.5 percent deprived in at least one of the three dimensions. Almost a third of the multidimensional poor suffer simultaneous deprivations in all three dimensions. Moreover, these figures do not yet fully account for the impact of COVID-19 on the world’s poor.

Table 2. Monetary and Multidimensional Poverty Headcount, by Region and the World, circa 2018

Region

Monetary poverty, headcount ratio (%)

Multidimensional poverty, headcount ratio (%)

Number of economies

Population coverage (%)a

East Asia and Pacific

2.5

4.4

14

30

Europe and Central Asia

0.3

2.2

25

89

Latin America and the Caribbean

4.0

4.7

14

87

Middle East and North Africa

2.3

2.9

5

51

South Asia

7.8

17.3

5

22

Sub-Saharan Africa

37.2

55.2

35

73

Rest of the World

0.7

1.3

25

78

All regions

9.6

15.0

123

51b

Source: Global Monitoring Database, April 2022.

Note: The monetary headcount is based on the international poverty line $1.90. Regional and total estimates are population-weighted averages of survey-year estimates for 121 economies and are not comparable to the monetary poverty measures presented in PovcalNet (which is being replaced by PIP). The multidimensional poverty measure headcount indicates the share of the population in each region defined as multidimensionally poor. Number of economies is the number of economies in each region for which information is available in the window between 2015 and 2021, for a circa 2018 reporting year. The coverage rule applied to the estimates is identical to that used for the World Bank’s global monetary poverty measures (e.g., see annex 1A of World Bank, 2020). Regions without sufficient population coverage are shown in light grey. 

a. Data coverage differs across regions. The data covers as much as 73 percent of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa and as little as 22 percent of the population in South Asia. The coverage for South Asia is low because no household survey is available for India between 2009 and 2020. Because of the absence of data on China and India, the regional coverage of South Asia and East Asia and Pacific is insufficient. 

b. The table conforms to both coverage criteria used for the global poverty estimate. The global population coverage is 50.84 percent and in low-income and lower-middle-income countries is 50.67 percent (also see annex 1A of World Bank, 2020). 

 


The Team

The Multidimensional Poverty Measure was created by the Global Poverty Working Group (GPWG), an interdisciplinary technical working group established to improve the quality and frequency of poverty and inequality data, comprising members from the Poverty and Equity Global Practice and the Development Economics Vice Presidency Data Group (DECDG) and Research Group (DECRG). 

Citation and Attribution:

When using the Multidimensional Poverty Measure, please cite as: Multidimensional Poverty Measure (circa 2018), World Bank, Washington, DC. 2022. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/poverty/brief/multidimensional-poverty-measure

Data Source

The World Bank’s Multidimensional Poverty Measure is calculated using the Global Monitoring Database (GMD). The Global Monitoring Database (GMD) is the World Bank’s repository of multitopic income and expenditure household surveys used to monitor global poverty and shared prosperity. The household survey data are typically collected by national statistical offices in each country, and then compiled, processed, and harmonized. The process is coordinated by the Data for Goals (D4G) team and supported by the six regional statistics teams in the Poverty and Equity Global Practice. The Development Data Group contributes historical data (before the 1990s) and recent survey data from the Luxemburg Income Study (LIS). Selected variables have been harmonized to the extent possible such that levels and trends in poverty and other key sociodemographic attributes can be reasonably compared across and within countries over time. The GMD’s harmonized microdata are used in the global poverty measures reported in the World Bank’s PovcalNet, Poverty and Inequality Platform (incoming), the World Bank’s Multidimensional Poverty Measure, and the Global Database of Shared Prosperity.



Contacts

Database and Methodology:

Data for Goals (D4G) at data4goals@worldbank.org

Media inquiries:

Elizabeth Howton, Communications Lead at ehowton@worldbankgroup.org




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