Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2.0 Consultation
In 2018, the United Nations Development Programme's Human Development Report Office (HDRO) and the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), at the University of Oxford, agreed to discuss improvements to the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), in order to better monitor the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

We opened datasets for 100 countries, home to 5.5 billion people, to see what new indicators might be possible to include. We shortlisted indicators to consider improving or replacing those presently used in the Global MPI. To be shortlisted, data needed to be available for at least 75 countries and 3.5 billion people from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS), the Pan Arab Project for Family Health (PAPFAM) or national datasets used for the Global MPI Winter 2017/2018 update. We had technical consultations of the possible indicators at several events, and individually with topical specialists.

The outcome of the conceptual and technical consultations is that four indicators of the existing Global MPI could be reworked to strengthen it in important ways. This survey describes each of the proposed changes, and seeks your input. The deadline to submit your answers is 20 April 2018. Thank you!

1. Name
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2. Institution
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3. Job title (optional)
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4. Country
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5. Currently, the Global MPI identifies children 0-5 years as deprived if they are underweight (weight-for-age). The SDG indicators and many child experts prefer stunting (height-for-age) as an indicator for child nutrition. So, one option for the revised Global MPI is to identify all children who are stunted. However, national governments point out that stunting is also nearly always a ‘stock’ variable after a child turns two years of age. So replacing underweight with stunting for all children 0-5 would mean that it would be hard to improve the child nutrition indicator. It would be possible to identify nutritional deprivations in all children aged 0-5 who are either stunted or underweight – but this approach was judged to inflate non-sampling measurement error. Therefore, we propose the following as the least inaccurate, and most policy-responsive, compromise: A child under two years of age is deprived in nutrition if she is stunted. A child aged 2-5 years is deprived in nutrition if she is undernourished. In both cases, the threshold considered is two standard deviations below the median for the reference group, following international conventions. Shall we adjust the child nutrition indicator to include stunting for children under two years of age and underweight for children 2-5? Please choose one of the options below:
6. Currently, the Global MPI identifies all individuals who are 15 years and older as deprived in nutrition if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is below 18.5 kg/m2. Note that the majority of the country datasets used in the Global MPI that have anthropometric data either cover children 0-5 years or cover a combination of children 0-5 and adults 15-59 years.The WHO recommends using the Body Mass Index (BMI) to monitor severe thinness, thinness, overweight and obesity among those between the age group of 10-19 years. Among this age group, weight-for-age is not a reliable indicator as it cannot distinguish between height and body mass. Many children in this age group are likely to experience pubertal growth spurt. As such they may appear as having excess weight by weight-for-age when in fact they are just tall. In cases where the dataset has children between 5-9 years, WHO recommends using either weight-for-age or the BMI-for-age. Assuming that we use the BMI-for-age for the age group between 10-19 years, the recommended cut-off for thinness is -2 SD, which corresponds with the adult cut-off of BMI below 18.5 kg/m2. Shall we use BMI-for-age for school-age children and adolescents within the age group of 10-19 years? Please choose one of the options below:
7. Currently, the Global MPI identifies a person as deprived in years of schooling if no household member aged 10 years or older has completed at least five years of formal education. This threshold of five years follows UNESCO's global estimations, which aggregate across primary schools of differing lengths as we do, and consider primary school children as aged 6-11, implying five years of schooling (see for example However, the mean and median number of years of primary school across countries is closer to six years. Thus many have suggested to replace the original cutoff of five years with the six years cutoff, because this is a better approximation of the length of primary education in most countries at present. Shall we identify a person as deprived if no one in the household has completed at least six years of schooling? Please choose one of the options below:
8. Currently, the Global MPI considers a household to be deprived in flooring if the floor is made of earth, sand or dung. No consideration is given to the materials of walls and the roof because this information was not widely available in 2010, but now it is. The proposal is to consider all three components of the dwelling in the housing indicator of the Global MPI.One option would be then to consider a household as deprived in housing if it uses low quality or natural materials for the walls, roof AND floor. That is, a household would need to be individually affected by low quality materials in all of these at the same time to be considered deprived. Thus, this is a less demanding threshold because only households in very severe housing conditions would be considered deprived. An alternative is to consider a household deprived in housing if the roof, floor OR walls use low quality material. This is a more demanding cutoff as it would be enough for a household to have low quality materials in any of these to be identified as deprived. Thus, a larger number of households may be considered deprived with this cutoff. A third alternative is either to consider only two of the three materials (e.g. roof and floor, but not walls), or to consider a household as deprived if it lacks good materials in two out of three of roof, walls and floor. Shall we change flooring to a new indicator on housing, which includes also deprivations in roof and wall? Please choose one of the options below:
9. The next three questions relate to the asset index.The original Global MPI includes an aggregated assets indicator that identifies households as being deprived if they have less than two small assets (radio, TV, refrigerator, telephone, bicycle, motorbike) AND they don’t have a car. This indicator can be adjusted in different ways. For example, HDRO’s innovative assets indicator includes additional components such as land and livestock, and also groups these into three sub-categories: communications, mobility and livelihood assets. Our proposal, in the asset index, is: a) To include additional assets in the original Global MPI, when these are available and relevant in a critical mass of countries – for example, computer, internet access, bank account. b) To statistically validate the structure of the asset indicator. c) To continue to use a counting-based index with normative weights, where these are also corroborated by other analysis. d) To document and justify the new asset index in an empirical paper, which also points out the shortcomings as well as insights and conceptual framework of a very limited asset index used for comparisons across countries. Are there key methodological resources for internationally comparable asset indices that you wish to draw our attention to? If you wish to send us any material about it, please send them by email to Please write "Global MPI consultation" in the subject line.
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10. Do you think the asset index should include indicators of land and livestock? Land and livestock are key productive assets particularly relevant in rural areas and relate to several of the SDG targets. However, the surveys only list the quantity of animals or land area; they lack information on their quality. Hence the same cutoffs will not identify equivalent deprivations across communities and countries. In addition, the cutoffs are not easy to define at the global scale. As a result, any asset index that uses these components will have some limitations. Please choose one of the options below:
11. Do you have advice on these four component indicators for an asset index: bank account, computer, motorboat or internet access? Each potential component has limitations in terms of comparability, but possible benefits in depicting assets deprivations more accurately.
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12. We know that the Global MPI is data constrained. Unfortunately, present data does not permit the inclusion of many important indicators – for example, related to employment, violence or gendered ownership of assets. Given the data limitations, and noting the existing resources on the Global MPI by OPHI and HDRO, do you have any other advice, suggestions, or insights for the Global MPI 2.0?
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If you want to send us additional information/files, please send them by email to Please write "Global MPI consultation" in the subject line. Thank you!
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