Lesson 3: Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is an international measure of acute multidimensional poverty covering over 100 developing countries. It complements traditional monetary poverty measures by capturing the acute deprivations in health, education, and living standards that a person faces simultaneously.

The global MPI was developed by Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) with the UN Development Programme (UNDP). It has been published annually by OPHI and in the UNDP’s Human Development Report since 2010.

It is divided into three dimensions of poverty, affecting health, education and living standards.

Each one of these dimensions groups different indicators, holding a specific weight: nutrition, child mortality, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets.

Source: flaticon.com
Health (1/3)
Any person under 70 years of age for whom there is nutritional information is undernourished.
SDG 2: Zero Hunger
Child mortality
A child under 18 has died in the household in the five-year period preceding the survey
SDG 3: Health and Well-being
Education (1/3)
Years of schooling
No eligible household member has completed six years of schooling
SDG 4: Quality Education
School attendance
Any school-aged child is not attending school up to the age at which he/she would complete class 8 (12-13 years).
SDG 4: Quality Education
Living Standards (1/3)
The household does not own more than one of these assets: radio, TV, telephone, computer, animal cart, bicycle, motorbike, or refrigerator, car or truck.
SDG 1: No Poverty
The household has unimproved or no sanitation facility or it is improved but shared with other households.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation
Drinking water
The household’s source of drinking water is not safe or safe drinking water is a 30-minute or longer walk from home, roundtrip.
SDG 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

One element emerges clearly from the way the index is constructed and illustrated: economic poverty is undoubtedly a commonality across all dimensions, but it is not made explicit as a dimension in its own right. The scarcity of money limits access to educational opportunities, leads to reduced standards of living, and the presence of these conditions leads to lack of social, physical, and mental well-being that is likely to affect the lives of those who meet the criteria in the index in the long run.

The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If a person is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global MPI identifies them as ‘MPI poor’.

We see, moreover, that health and the indicator “nutrition” occupy the first place among the dimensions of the MPI, being a cause and consequence of poverty.

However, putting aside the poverty-related element, not having access to educational opportunities means not being able to be aware of what is needed to get out of a condition of malnutrition, how to optimize food consumption and consciously purchase.

Moreover, two years of the Covid-19 pandemic and, more recently, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent war, and the energy crisis due to the shutdown of gas exports from Russia, exacerbate an already very alarming food security situation, with unprecedented spikes in global commodity prices as well as in input costs, including energy and fertilizer, and a growing number of food insecure and undernourished people.

Source: eufic.org