How to build a National Multidimensional Poverty Index




How to build a National Multidimensional Poverty Index

July 8, 2019

This joint handbook by UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), University of Oxford, provides practical guidance for policymakers, statisticians, practitioners and others seeking or engaged in developing a national Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI). It is also intended as a resource for academics, journalists and others interested in broadening their country’s poverty metrics, in line with the 2030 Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The 2030 Agenda invites countries to broaden traditional poverty metrics beyond income, and calls for nationally developed measures of multidimensional poverty (in accordance with Target 1.2). National multidimensional poverty indices track multiple sets of deprivations relating to health, education, basic standards of living, employment and other relevant dimensions of poverty, and can be adapted to fit national contexts and policy priorities. They complement existing measures of monetary poverty and reveal populations living in poverty who would otherwise be overlooked. National MPIs help identify not only who is living in poverty, but how they experience poverty. They reveal the overlapping deprivations within and across groups in different parts of a country and enable policymakers to see how these deprivations change over time.

With the use of the national MPI, UNDP and OPHI hope to strengthen national capacities of policymakers, technical experts and other stakeholders to:

·        Build a deeper, more holistic understanding of what poverty means in their national contexts, in complement with existing monetary measures

·        Track, report and review progress in reducing multidimensional poverty, in keeping with the 2030 Agenda SDG target 1.2

·        Use evidence to improve policies, reach the most severely poor and facilitate approaches to implement the SDGs that work across sectors to address the deprivations that leave people behind 

·        Broaden national ownership and engagement in efforts to eradicate poverty in all its forms


This Handbook on how to build a national MPI:

  • Elaborates the benefits of developing an MPI;
  • Illustrates the political process of establishing an MPI including generating public awareness and political support needed;
  • Describes the technical process of building and analyzing an MPI from start to finish;
  • Describes some of the potential uses of a national MPI to guide and monitor policy;
  • Provides an option for monitoring SDG Indicator 1.2.2 on multidimensional poverty according to national definitions;
  • Provides examples based on countries’ experiences.