What is the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index?
Measuring poverty can be tricky. Income is a good place to start, but it does not tell the whole story. A recent graduate can live comfortably on the same amount on which a family of four would struggle.

Researchers have begun to search for more comprehensive measures of poverty.  One such measure is the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI), created by Sabina Alkire at the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. This index takes the answers to ten questions – two on education, two on health, and six on living standards – and combines them into a single index. Different questions are weighted differently. Whether your children are enrolled in primary education, for instance, counts three times more than whether you have electricity. Higher scores indicate higher levels of poverty. Households with composite scores over 33% are considered to be in poverty.

One problem with the MPI is that its weightings are arbitrary. Whether access to clean water or access to education matters more is up for debate. Yet despite its shortcomings, the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index has drawn attention to specifics of poverty that income does not address.

– David Wilson

Source: The Economist
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