Oxford University’s poverty and human development initiative published a world poverty report. As world poverty declines, the report notes that “never in history have the living conditions and prospects of so many people changed so dramatically and so fast.” In fact, if some countries continue to improve at current rates, it is possible to eradicate acute poverty within 20 years.
The academic study measured new deprivations, such as nutrition, education, and health. By examining more than income deprivation, the study is able to convey the bigger picture. The new methodology is entitled the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). Past studies identify income as the only indicator of poverty. This is a misrepresentation because multiple aspects constitute poverty.
The MPI measures poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, lack of income, disempowerment, poor quality of work, and threats from violence. These factors provide a holistic look as world poverty declines.
Dr. Sabina Alkire and Dr. Maria Emma Santos developed the new system. They named the system “multidimensional” because it is what people facing poverty describe. “As poor people worldwide have said, poverty is more than money,” Alkire said.
This increased information and understanding better informs international donors and governments. “Maybe we have been overlooking the power of the people themselves, women who are empowering each other, civil society pulling itself up,” Alkire said. The new data could incentivize donors to provide assistance. International and national aid contribute to the declining rates. Improvements to infrastructure, education, and healthcare help decrease poverty rates. Trade has improved the economies of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
Rwanda, Nepal, and Bangladesh experienced the greatest decrease in poverty rates. It is possible that “deprivation could disappear within the lifetime of present generations.” Close behind in the ranks of poverty reduction were Ghana, Tanzania, Cambodia, and Bolivia.
The study is supported by the United Nations’ recent development report. The UN report stated that poverty reduction was “exceeding all expectations.”
Check out the MPI interactive world map for more details.
– Whitney M. Wyszynski
Source: The Guardian