What is the Multidimensional Poverty Index?

The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) identifies multiple deprivations at the household and individual level in health, education and standard of living. It uses micro data from household surveys, and—unlike the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index—all the indicators needed to construct the measure must come from the same survey. Each person in a given household is classified as poor or non-poor depending on the number of deprivations his or her household experiences. This data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty. The MPI reflects both the prevalence of multidimensional deprivation, and its intensity—how many deprivations people experience at the same time. It 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 or rural location, as well as other key household and community characteristics. The MPI builds on recent advances in theory and data to present the first global measure of its kind, and offers a valuable complement to income-based poverty measures.

The 2014 Human Development Report (HDR) presents estimates for 91 countries with a combined population of 5.0 billion (75% of the world total). About 1.5 billion people in the countries covered—29% of their entire population—lived in multidimensional poverty between 2005 and 2012.