A New Look at Global Poverty

The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Institute has released a new measure of global poverty. It’s called the multidimensional poverty index. The new metric seeks to measure household level deprivations such as education, health, and assets and services.

The index is the product of a long series of consultations among economic experts. It aims to look deeper than just income levels, and serve as a “high resolution lens which reveals a vivid spectrum of challenges facing the poorest households.”

To quote the OPHD website:

“Most countries of the world define poverty by income. Yet poor people themselves define their poverty much more broadly, to include lack of education, health, housing, empowerment, humiliation, employment, personal security and more. No one indicator, such as income, is uniquely able to capture the multiple aspects that contribute to poverty.”

It’s an impressive effort. Clearly poverty is about more than income. And the first conclusion of the new poverty index is fascinating – eight Indian states contain more poor people than the 26 poorest African countries combined. That certainly shakes up my view of global poverty.