Often when experts talk about poverty they use the measure of people who live on less than 1 US dollar a day.
However, this measure has often been criticized. First of all, because currency exchange rates fluctuate continuously, it becomes difficult for individual countries to talk about poverty using the US dollar as a measure.
But more importantly, when poverty is defined only by looking at the income an individual or a household receives (whatever currency is used), then a number of other factors are ignored.
Recently, the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), in collaboration with the UNDP Human Development Report, announced the release of the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI).
According to OPHI, the new measure recognizes that people’s lives are affected by more than just their income, and so the MPI looks at individuals’ poverty as a combination of their education, health, and standard of living.
The developers of the new index believe that this more complex measure will help policy-makers and development practitioners better understand the causes of poverty and then tailor their interventions accordingly. OPHI has used the MPI to assess poverty across 104 developing countries, and the results will be featured in the 20th anniversary edition of the UNDP’s Human Development Report which is due for release in October.
Those who are interested in learning more can explore global multidimensional poverty using an interactive world map. You can also examine country specific summaries for more details on your part of the word, and have a look at recent news coverage and editorials on the MPI. You can download a booklet containing some short individual case studies, by clicking on the image above.