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One-dimensional measures miss a lot. No one indicator – such as income – can capture the multiple aspects that constitute poverty, well-being or empowerment.

The Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement developed at OPHI enables robust and better-informed policies to be designed, monitored and evaluated.

Why use a multidimensional approach?

  • Income alone can miss a lot
  • People themselves describe their experiences as multidimensional
  • More information means better-informed policy
  • Multidimensional measurement methods can be adapted for other purposes

Why is the Alkire Foster method so useful for policymakers?

  • Enables effective targeting and allocation of resources
  • Provides a more detailed picture, leading to better-informed and better-designed policy
  • Allows interconnections among deprivations to be identified
  • Shows policy impacts over time
  • Is flexible and can be adapted for different contexts
  • Complements other metrics

How is the Alkire Foster method being applied at the subnational, national and international level?

  • Poverty, well-being and empowerment measures
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Targeting of services or conditional cash transfers

The Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network – supporting countries develop their own measures

  • Direct, international peer-to-peer support for policymakers
  • Input into design of measures, political processes and institutional arrangements
  • Technical support, executive training courses, online store of knowledge and lessons learned


Watch a short video about how OPHI’s Alkire Foster method of multidimensional measurement is being applied at the global, national and institutional level.

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Policy Applications

Global MPI

Global MPI
An international measure of acute poverty covering over 100 developing countries

Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index

The Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index
A groundbreaking tool to measure the empowerment, agency and inclusion of women in the agriculture sector

Gross National Happiness Index

Gross National Happiness Index
A measurement tool that reflects the general well-being of the population


A national MPI that reflects deprivations in rudimentary services and core human needs

Minas Gerais, Brazil

A state-wide MPI that uses data collected door to door and underpins a poverty reduction programme


A multidimensional measure in the Wu Ling Mountain Region that incorporates environmental data


A pioneering multidimensional poverty measure used to monitor a national development plan

El Salvador

El Salvador
A proposed MPI that will link with social action programmes and guide social policy


A preliminary MPI that may be used to monitor poverty reduction programmes and better target policies


A multidimensional poverty measure passed into law, with dimensions based on social rights