Development – Multidimensional Poverty
Who Are the World’s Poor? A New Profile of Global Multidimensional Poverty – Working Paper 499
Center for Global Development
Gisela Robles Aguilar and Andy Sumner
January 7, 2019 :: 39 pages
Who are the world’s poor? This paper presents a new global profile of multidimensional poverty using three specifications of multidimensional poverty. The paper draws comparisons with the global monetary poverty profile and with the new World Bank measure of combined monetary and non-monetary poverty; discusses how global poverty differs by specification, the extent of multidimensionality, and presents a set of estimates of the disaggregated characteristics of global multidimensional poverty in 2015. We find the following:
i. At an aggregate level, the overall characteristics of global multidimensional poverty are similar to those of global monetary poverty at $1.90 per day, in that poor households tend to be larger-than-average rural households formed predominantly by young people (half of the world’s multidimensional poor are under 18 years of age, and three-quarters are under 40); two-thirds of poor households have a member employed in agriculture; perhaps surprisingly, given that one would expect higher incomes outside agriculture, one-third of poor households have no member employed in agriculture. The most frequent deprivations are a lack of access to sanitation, lack of improved cooking fuel, and undernutrition.
ii. At a disaggregated level, we find that poverty in rural areas tends to be characterized by overlapping deprivations in education and access to decent infrastructure (water, sanitation, electricity, and housing). In contrast, and counterintuitively, given the proximity, in principle, to better health care and economic opportunities, it is child mortality and malnutrition that is more frequently observed within urban poverty.
iii. The extent of the multidimensionality of poverty differs substantially by region; moreover, some deprivations frequently overlap while others do not. The infrastructure-related dimensions of poverty (water, sanitation, electricity, and housing), not surprisingly, often overlap with each other. More surprising is that deprivations in health indicators overlap least frequently with other dimensions of