Chile announces national Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Chilean government announced its new national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) on 24 January 2015.  The national MPI was announced at the same time as the government released its updated income poverty measure. The government’s presentation can be viewed online.

According to the MPI, 20.4 per cent of the population in Chile live in multidimensional poverty, while 14.4 per cent are income poor. Five and a half per cent of Chileans experience both multidimensional and income poverty.

The Chilean MPI covers a wide range of deprivations, including education, health, safety and employment, and uses data from the 2013 National Socioeconomic Survey (CASEN). Announcing the results, Minster for Social Development Maria Fernanda Villegas explained that the MPI is a modern and transparent measure, developed in response to a consensus that the traditional income measure did not reflect the true reality of poverty.

Press coverage of the announcement can be found at latercera.com and emol.com.

The MPI methodology for Chile was formally presented in December 2014 at a seminar organised by the Ministry for Social Development and the Centre for the Study of Conflict and Social Cohesion (COES).  This was the culmination of work that began with a consultation process for a new index during President Bachelet’s previous term in office. The intervening administration established a presidential commission that worked to develop a multidimensional measure, before the new government’s work in finalising (with OPHI technical assistance) and now publishing the Index – all an excellent indicator of the measure’s ability to survive political change.

Chile is a member of the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network, a network of over 30 countries focused on multidimensional poverty measurement. Chile joins Mexico, Colombia, the Philippines and Bhutan as the fifth government to adopt officially a national MPI.  In addition, the State Government of Minas Gerais, Brazil, and the City Government of Ho Chi Minh City also use their locally adopted MPI.