Multidimensional Poverty Index – Update (October, 2022)

The multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) was recently released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

Key findings

  • The MPI 2022 was released under the title “Unpacking deprivation bundles to reduce multidimensional poverty”.
  • In 111 countries, 1.2 billion people (19.1%) live in acute multidimensional poverty. 593 million (50%) of these people are minors under the age of 18.
  • The developing region with the highest prevalence of multidimensional poverty is Sub- Saharan Africa (nearly 579 million), followed by South Asia (385 million).
  • The pandemic has reversed the progress made in multidimensional poverty by 3 to 10 years.
  • Due to the lack of frequent household surveys, it is difficult to assess the true impact of the pandemic on poverty.
  • Around 45.5 million poor people do not have access to cooking fuel, housing, sanitation, and nutrition. A majority of them live in India and the rest are in Bangladesh and Pakistan. This makes it a unique trend seen only in South Asia.

In India

  • For the first time, the report dedicated a special section focusing on the 15-year trend of poverty in India.
  • Over the past 15 years, the number of poor people has declined by 415 million.
  • The MPI value and incidence of poverty fell from 0.283 in 2005-06 to 0.122 in 2015-16. The figure dropped again to 0.069 in 2019-21.
  • The incidence of poverty declined from 55.1 per cent to 16.4 per cent over the past 15 years.
  • However, India still has the highest number of poor people in the world and Nigeria has the second-highest poor population.
  • Though poverty among children has declined at a faster rate, India hosts the highest number of poor children. 97 million children (21.8% of Indian children) are poor in the country.
  • Children (under the age of 18) account for 50 percent of poor people in India. This means that one in every three children lives in poverty, while one in seven adults lives in poverty.
  • About 94 million people (8.1 percent) above the age of 60 are poor.
  • The 2019-2021 data revealed that around 16.4 per cent of the population in India is poor. Of these, 4.2 percent live in extreme poverty since their deprivation score is above 50 per cent.
  • About 18.7 percent of the population is vulnerable and likely to be pushed into extreme poverty. Of these, two-thirds fall into the category where one person is at least deprived of nutrition.
  • India is the only country in South Asia where poverty is significantly higher among female-headed households (19.7%) than male-headed households (15.9%).
  • Nationally, the relative drop in poverty was faster at the rate of 11.9% per annum during the period between 2015-16 and 2019-21 than the period between 2005-06 and 2015-16, when the poverty rate dropped at 8.1 per cent per year.
  • The later years witnessed a faster reduction in poverty because reducing relative poverty is easier to achieve when starting poverty levels are low.
  • Goa, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan witnessed the fastest poverty reduction.
  • Among the 10 poorest states recorded in 2015-16, only West Bengal was not recorded among the poorest in the list in 2019-21.
  • Other states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan continue to be the poorest states.

About MPI

The MPI was first launched to assess the progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 1, which seeks to end poverty by 2030. It takes into account 10 indicators – health, living standards, education, and others to determine if a household or individuals living in it are deprived of basic amenities.

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