Like development, poverty is multidimensional— but this is traditionally ignored by headline figures. This year’s Report introduces the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), which complements money-based measures by considering multiple deprivations and their overlap. The index identifies deprivations across the same three dimensions as the HDI and shows the number of people who are poor (suffering a given number of deprivations) and the number of deprivations with which poor households typically contend (figure 5.8 and 5.10 from the Report). It can be deconstructed by region, ethnicity and other groupings as well as by dimension, making it an apt tool for policymakers. Some findings:
These new measures yield many other novel results—and insights—that can guide development policy debates and designs. Large HDI losses due to inequality indicate that society has much to gain from concentrating its efforts on equity-improving reforms. And a high MPI coinciding with low income poverty suggests that there is much to gain from improving the delivery of basic public services. The measures open exciting new possibilities for research, allowing us to tackle critical questions. Which countries are most successful in lowering inequality in human development? Are advances in gender equity a cause or a reflection of broader development trends? Does reduced income poverty bring about reduced multidimensional poverty, or vice versa?