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Poverty measures reported at the national level don’t provide a full picture of where the world’s poorest people live. New research from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), based at the University of Oxford, has revealed that nearly 60 per cent of people living in the world’s poorest regions are actually not in the least developed countries.

Measuring the different things that people are deprived of, researchers have identified sub-national regions of the world where the poorest people live. The global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) reflects the combined simultaneous disadvantages poor people experience across different areas of their lives, including education, health and living standards. If people are deprived in at least one-third of ten weighted indicators, they are identified as multi-dimensionally poor. This poverty measure, MPI, complements income poverty measures.

Using the January 2015 updates of the MPI released today, the study team looked at more than 230 regions of countries where multidimensional poverty is at least as high as the 25 poorest Least Developed Countries (LDCs), identified by the United Nations (Economic and Social Council). They found that nearly 60 per cent of the 678 million multi-dimensionally poor people in these subnational regions live in countries that are not classified as LDCs, and all but one non-LDC region were in countries classed as middle-income: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Namibia and the Republic of Congo.

The findings show that pockets of deprivation are missed in aggregate statistics. For example, in Doula, the largest city in Cameroon, 6.7 per cent of people are multi-dimensionally poor; yet elsewhere in the same country, in the Extrême-Nord, nearly 87 per cent are measured as MPI-poor. The researchers say the striking disparity would be hidden if we only relied on the figure for the national average which shows that 46 per cent of the population in Cameroon are MPI-poor.

 

Read more on the University website