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 weighted number of deprivations his or her household experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty. The MPI reflects both the prevalence of multidimensional deprivation and its intensity—the percentage of simultaneous deprivations poor people experience. 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 offers a valuable complement to income-based poverty measures.

The 2016 Human Development Report (HDR) presents estimates for 102 developing countries with a combined population of 5.2 billion (72% 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 2015. We could not include other countries due to data constraints. Comparable data on each of the indicators were not available for other developing nations. There was also a decision not to use data from surveys conducted earlier than 2005.