The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index

The Global Multidimensional Poverty Index or MPI for short is an analytical tool that is used to identify the people living in poverty and to reveal poverty patterns within countries over time. It was developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme with the aim to replace the Human Poverty Index and to introduce the inequality into the Human Development Index. The MPI measures deprivation using three dimensions which are identified as Health, Education and Living Standards which are then revealed by ten different indicators which are Child Morality, Nutrition, Years of Schooling, School Attendance, Cooking fuel, Toilet, Water, Electricity, Floor and Assets.

The MPI requires multiple indicators to be accounted for in the measurements for each dimension of poverty. This is done to consider overlapping deprivations suffered by people at the same time which other indexes such as the Human Development Index or HDI for short fail to consider. The disadvantage to this, however, is that not all countries collect necessary data on the different indicators for the different dimensions of poverty. As such, the MPI is only calculated for in a handful of countries – one hundred countries to be precise.

With the above knowledge in mind, in my opinion, the Multidimensional Poverty Index in its current circumstances has failed to be an effective poverty indicator as it fails to be able to be used for all countries. However, the advantages that the MPI brings is far too much to overlook – the ability to account for inequality when trying to indicate poverty is very beneficial in trying to identify poverty. Especially in the United Nations’ pursuit of eradicating poverty and inequality. The creators of the MPI – The Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme – should stress the importance of data collection and to assist countries in collecting necessary data for the ten different indicators. Then the MPI can be used for all countries and function as the poverty indicator it was meant to be.

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