Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs

mdg_finalOPHI Briefing 11

This briefing proposes the consideration of a Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2.0 (now known as the MPI 2015+) in post-2015 MDGs, as a headline indicator of multidimensional poverty that can reflect participatory inputs, and can be easily disaggregated.

Most projections suggest ending $1.25/day poverty would not require much in the way of bending the current trend – so it is achievable. But ending $1.25/day poverty is unlikely to mean the end of the many overlapping disadvantages faced by people living in poverty, including malnutrition, poor sanitation, a lack of electricity, or ramshackle schools.

This briefing considers what the MPI, reflecting acute multidimensional poverty, could offer in the context of the post-2015 MDG discussions. Granted there will be other goals – for example, to improve health – each having a bevy of indicators. Yet alongside these, a headline MPI could provide an eye-catching and intuitive overview measure, with easily understood and consistent details on its component indicators. Indeed, an MPI 2015+ could be formed from a ‘voices of the poor’ type participatory exercise.

The MPI 2015+ would complement a $1.25/day measure by showing how people are poor (what disadvantages they experience); in which regions or ethnic groups they are poor; and the inequalities between those living in poverty. It would add value for policymakers, providing political incentives to reduce poverty by reflecting changes swiftly; it could also be used to monitor inclusive growth, and to show the nexus between challenges of poverty and sustainability.

Authors: Sabina Alkire (OPHI) and Andy Sumner (King’s College, London)

Year: 2013

Read the briefing Multidimensional Poverty and the Post-2015 MDGs

The briefing has now been published in Development, 56 (1), 46-51, 2013.