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, and thus, he or she experiences. These data are then aggregated into the national measure of poverty. The MPI reflects both the incidence of multidimensional deprivation (a headcount of those in multidimensional poverty) and its intensity (the average deprivation score experienced by poor people). 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 2018 Statistical Update presents estimates for 105 developing countries with a combined population of 5.7 billion (77% of the world total). About 1.3 billion people in the countries covered—23.3% of their entire population—lived in multidimensional poverty between 2006 and 2016-17. 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 2006.