Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2019

Content Manager • 26 August 2019

      Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 1 aims to end poverty in all its forms and dimensions. Although often defined according to income, poverty can also be defined in terms of the deprivations people face in their daily lives.

      The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is one tool for measuring progress against SDG1. It compares acute multidimensional poverty for more than 100 countries and 5.7 billion people and monitors changes over time. The global MPI scrutinizes a person’s deprivations across 10 indicators in health, education and standard of living and offers a high-resolution lens to identify both who is poor and how they are poor.

Key findings of the report are:

  • Across 101 countries, 1.3 billion people- 23.1 per cent- are multidimensionally poor.

  • Two-thirds of multidimensionally poor people live in middle-income countries.

  • There is massive variation in multidimensional poverty within countries. For example, Uganda’s national multidimensional poverty rate (55.1 per cent) is similar to the Sub-Saharan Africa average (57.5 per cent), but the incidence of multidimensional poverty in Uganda’s provinces ranges from 6.0 per cent to 96.3 per cent, a range similar to that of national multidimensional poverty rates in Sub-Saharan Africa (6.3–91.9 per cent).

  • Half of the 1.3 billion multidimensionally poor people are children under age 18. A third are children under age 10.

  • This year’s spotlight on child poverty in South Asia reveals considerable diversity. While 10.7 per cent of South Asian girls are out of school and live in a multidimensionally poor household, that average hides variation: in Afghanistan 44.0 per cent do. In South Asia, 22.7 per cent of children under age 5 experience intrahousehold inequality in deprivation in nutrition (where at least one child in the household is malnourished and at least one child in the household is not). In Pakistan over a third of children under age 5 experience such intrahousehold inequality.

  • Of 10 selected countries for which changes over time were analysed, India and Cambodia reduced their MPI values the fastest—and they did not leave the poorest groups behind.

  • There is a wide variation across countries in inequality among multidimensionally poor people - that is, in the intensity of poverty experienced by each poor person. For example, Egypt and Paraguay have similar MPI values, but inequality among multidimensionally poor people is considerably higher in Paraguay.

  • There is little or no association between economic inequality (measured using the Gini coefficient) and the MPI value.

  • In the 10 selected countries for which changes over time were analyzed, deprivations declined faster among the poorest 40 per cent of the population than among the total population.

      The global MPI was developed in 2010 by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) at the University of Oxford and the Human Development Report Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the flagship Human Development Report.  The figures and analysis are updated at least once a year using newly released data.  

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Photo Credit: UNDP Sudan


The views expressed in the article and report are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the SDG Philanthropy Platform. The SDG Philanthropy Platform is a global initiative that connects philanthropy with knowledge and networks that can deepen collaboration, leverage resources and sustain impact, driving SDG delivery within national development planning. It is led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA), and supported by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, Ford Foundation, Oak Foundation, Brach Family Charitable Foundation, and many others.