London: Acute poverty prevails in eight
Indian states, including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal,
together accounting for more poor people than in the 26
poorest African nations combined, a new `multidimensional`
measure of global poverty has said.
The new measure, called the Multidimensional Poverty
Index (MPI), was developed and applied by the Oxford Poverty
and Human Development Initiative with UNDP support.
It will be featured in the forthcoming 20th
anniversary edition of the UNDP Human Development Report.
An analysis by MPI creators reveals that there are
more `MPI poor` people in eight Indian states (421 million in
Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa,
Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal) than in the 26
poorest African countries combined (410 million).
The new poverty measure that gives a multidimensional
picture of people living in poverty, and is expected to help
target development resources more effectively, its creators
The MPI supplants the Human Poverty Index, which had
been included in the annual Human Development Reports since
The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report will be
published in late October, but research findings from the
Multidimensional Poverty Index were made available today at a
policy forum in London and on line on the websites of OPHI and
the UNDP Human Development Report.
The MPI assesses a range of critical factors or
`deprivations` at the household level: from education to
health outcomes to assets and services.
Taken together, these factors provide a fuller
portrait of acute poverty than simple income measures,
according to OPHI and UNDP.
The measure reveals the nature and extent of poverty
at different levels: from household up to regional, national
and international level.
This new multidimensional approach to assessing
poverty has been adapted for national use in Mexico, and is
now being considered by Chile and Colombia.
"The MPI is like a high resolution lens which reveals
a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households,"
said OPHI Director Dr Sabina Alkire, who created the MPI with
Professor James Foster of George Washington University and
Maria Emma Santos of OPHI.
The UNDP Human Development Report Office is also
joining forces with OPHI to promote international discussions
on the practical applicability of this multidimensional
approach to measuring poverty.
"We are featuring the Multidimensional Poverty Index
in the 20th anniversary edition of the Human Development
Report this year because we consider it a highly innovative
approach to quantifying acute poverty," Dr Jeni Klugman,
Director of the UNDP Human Development Report Office and the
principal author of this year`s Report, said.
"The MPI provides a fuller measure of poverty than the
traditional dollar-a-day formulas.
It is a valuable addition to the family of instruments
we use to examine broader aspects of well-being, including
UNDP`s Human Development Index and other measures of
inequality across the population and between genders.
OPHI researchers analysed data from 104 countries with
a combined population of 5.2 billion (78 per cent of the world
About 1.7 billion people in the countries covered - a
third of their entire population - live in multidimensional
poverty, according to the MPI.
This exceeds the 1.3 billion people, in those same
countries, estimated to live on USD 1.25 a day or less, the
more commonly accepted measure of `extreme` poverty.
Half of the world`s poor as measured by the MPI live
in South Asia (51 per cent or 844 million people) and one
quarter in Africa (28 per cent or 458 million).
Niger has the greatest intensity and incidence of
poverty in any country, with 93 per cent of the population
classified as poor in MPI terms.
The recently released 2010 UN Millennium Development
Goals Report stressed that the MDGs will be fully achieved
only by addressing the needs of those most disadvantaged by
geography, age, gender or ethnicity, OPHI researchers point