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The scale of global poverty is greater than is often estimated

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Staff writer ▼ | June 29, 2015
Global poverty
Research   Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

More than 1.6 billion people are living in multidimensional poverty around the world, according to new analysis from the OPHI (Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative), a research centre at the University of Oxford.

A new report on the latest figures for the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) shows multidimensional poverty in 101 developing countries, covering 5.2 billion people, or 75% of the world's population.

The Global MPI complements measures based on income and reflects the overlapping disadvantages poor people can face across different areas of their lives all at the same time. They include poor health, a lack of education and low living standards. If people are deprived in at least one-third of ten weighted indicators, they are identified as multidimensionally poor.

The index combines the percentage of people living in multidimensional poverty with the intensity of deprivations, or how much they are experienced.

The findings suggest that the scale of global poverty is even greater than is often estimated using traditional measures based on income. In some countries, including Mexico, Pakistan and Egypt, the researchers found that the number of people living in multidimensional poverty is twice the number who live on less than $1.25 a day.

Unlike global monetary poverty measures, the MPI can be broken down to give poverty levels for 884 regions within countries, as well as highlighting the different ways that people are poor.

For example, the figures reveal that, of the 1.6 billion people living in multidimensional poverty more than 1.2 billion people don't have adequate sanitation; over 1 billion are living on dirt floors; around 900 million do not have electricity; roughly 900 million people live in a household where someone is malnourished; and more than half a billion live in a home in which no-one has completed five years of school.

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