Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs


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This brief proposes the consideration of a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2.0 in post-2015 MDGs, as a headline indicator of multidimensional poverty that can reflect participatory inputs, and can be easily disaggregated.

Most projections suggest ending $1.25/day poverty would not require much in the way of bending the current trend – so it is achievable. But ending $1.25/day poverty is unlikely to mean the end of the many overlapping disadvantages faced by people living in poverty, including malnutrition, poor sanitation, a lack of electricity, or ramshackle schools.

This brief considers what the MPI, reflecting acute multidimensional poverty, could offer in the context of the post-2015 MDG discussions. Granted there will be other goals – for example, to improve health – each having a bevy of indicators. Yet alongside these, a headline MPI could provide an eye-catching and intuitive overview measure, with easily understood and consistent details on its component indicators. Indeed, an MPI 2.0 could be formed from a ‘voices of the poor’ type participatory exercise.

The MPI 2.0 would complement a $1.25/day measure by showing how people are poor (what disadvantages they experience); in which regions or ethnic groups they are poor; and the inequalities between those living in poverty. It would add value for policymakers, providing political incentives to reduce poverty by reflecting changes swiftly; it could also be used to monitor inclusive growth, and to show the nexus between challenges of poverty and sustainability.

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network (MPPN) and OPHI, which acts as the Network’s Secretariat, have launched the third collaborative draft proposal for a light but powerful household survey modules, in response to the widely agreed need for a ‘data revolution’ post-2015. Previous drafts were launched in November 2013 and April 2014, and revised following extensive discussion and input.

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Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs

2015+ Light Powerful (LP) Household Survey Modules


Sabina Alkire, OPHI and Andy Sumner, King’s College London

See also

Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI)

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