A index of poverty, nation by nation, introduced in 2010 by the United Nations Development Program and devised to take into account factors besides income. For example, the MPI considers how far a person has to walk to obtain clean drinking water.
Most poverty indices are based on comparing income against a defined poverty level. Because the MPI is based on other factors, a country where more persons have access to, for example, health care, is likely to have fewer MPI poor than another country with the same incomes but limited access to health care. For example, an index using the limit approach classified 39% of the population of Ethiopia as poor, while the MPI considers 90% “extremely poor.” In contrast, 89% of Tanzanians are poor by an index using an income test, while the MPI considers 65% poor.
Development and maintenance of the index is primarily the work of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, with the support of the United Nations Development Program. The best description of the index, with maps of MPI poverty by nation, is at
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Last revised: 6 January 2011.