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Working Paper: 61

Where do the World's Multidimensionally Poor People Live?

This paper asks where do the world’s multidimensionally poor people live? The paper considers how the global distribution of multidimensional poverty differs from the global distribution of income poverty and assesses the sensitivity of findings to widely used (although somewhat arbitrary) country classifications. Surprisingly perhaps, only a quarter of multidimensionally poor people and just one-third of severely multidimensionally poor people live in the world’s poorest countries – meaning Low Income Countries (LICs) or Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The sensitivity of findings about country thresholds for low and middle-income countries is discussed. The paper argues that there is a split of distribution poverty between both stable Middle Income Countries (MICs) and low-income fragile states, and that there is a ‘multidimensional bottom billion’ living in stable MICs. The analysis is based on 83 countries, and uses the 2011 Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) poverty estimates of the UNDP Human Development Report.

Citation: Alkire, S., Roche, J. M. & Sumner, A. (2013) Where do the world’s multidimensionally poor people live? OPHI Working Paper 61.

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