The UN Human Rights Council has defined poverty as “a human condition characterized by the sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights”.
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) reflects the deprivations that a poor person faces simultaneously with respect to education, health and living standards. This reflects the same three dimensions of welfare as the HDI but the indicators are different in each case and are linked to the MDGs. The components of MPI are:
1. Education (each indicator is weighted equally at 1/6)
• Years of Schooling: deprived if no household member has completed five years of schooling
• Child Enrolment: deprived if any school-aged child is not attending school in years 1 to 8
2. Health (each indicator is weighted equally at 1/6)
• Child Mortality: deprived if any child has died in the family
• Nutrition: deprived if any adult or child for whom there is nutritional information is malnourished
3. Standard of Living (each indicator is weighted equally at 1/18)
• Electricity: deprived if the household has no electricity
• Drinking water: deprived if the household does not have access to clean drinking water or clean water is more than 30 minutes walk from home
• Sanitation: deprived if they do not have an improved toilet or if their toilet is shared
• Flooring: deprived if the household has dirt, sand or dung floor
• Cooking Fuel: deprived if they cook with wood, charcoal or dung
• Assets: deprived if the household does not own more than one of: radio, TV, telephone, bike, or motorbike, and do not own a car or tractor
Hence, ‘poverty’ is determined with regard to not only income or expenditure but also access to a number of other necessities.
The MPI can be used to create a comprehensive picture of people living in poverty, and permits comparisons both across countries, regions and the world and within countries by ethnic group, urban/rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics.
These characteristic make the MPI useful as an analytical tool to identify the most vulnerable people – the poorest among the poor, revealing poverty patterns within countries and over time, enabling policy makers to target resources and design policies more effectively.
• There are 50% more MPI poor people in the countries analysed than there are income poor people using the $1.90/day poverty line.
• Almost one third of MPI poor people live in Sub-Saharan Africa (32.%); 53% in South Asia, and 9% in East Asia.
• As with income poverty, three quarters of MPI poor people live in Middle Income Countries.