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Insights for Policymaking from the Multidimensional Poverty Index

Dec 17, 2021

The severity of the impact of COVID-19 on the poorest societies in the Asia and the Pacific has been underestimated, given the resilience of the economies and their GDP growth rates. However, recent Human Development Reports in the region show that the poorest societies and countries are impacted in far-reaching ways with long-term consequences that are yet to be seen. A Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) provides a headline figure of the level of poverty across multiple deprivations on health, education, and living standards.

This paper shines light on two main kinds of MPIs: global and national. The global MPI, first developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for inclusion in the 2010 Human Development Report, receives annual updates and presents an international measure of acute poverty covering simultaneous deprivations in 10 indicators related to health, education, and living standards. National MPIs reflect the context and priorities of countries and are official permanent statistics that complement monetary poverty and inform public actions for national governments across developing countries.

The paper further reviews multidimensional poverty in Asia and the Pacific using the global MPI and uses the national MPIs to identify the most vulnerable populations, revealing poverty patterns within countries over time, enabling policymakers to target resources more effectively in their post-COVID-19 development.

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