Half of the World’s Poor are Children

Half of all people living in poverty are younger than 18 years old, according to estimates from the 2018 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).

The new figures show that in 104 primarily low and middle-income countries, 662 million children are considered multidimensionally poor. In 35 countries half of all children are poor.

The MPI looks beyond income to understand how people experience poverty in multiple and simultaneous ways. It identifies how people are being left behind across three key dimensions: health, education and living standards, lacking such things as clean water, sanitation, adequate nutrition or primary education. Those who are deprived in at least of a third of the MPI’s components are defined as multidimensionally poor. The 2018 figures, which are now closely aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals, cover almost three-quarters of the world’s population.

There are promising signs that poverty can be tackled.

The latest figures paint a stark picture of just how many are still left behind by development, but they also demonstrate that progress can happen quickly with the right approach.

Some 1.3 billion people live in multidimensional poverty, which is almost a quarter of the population of the 104 countries for which the 2018 MPI is calculated. Of these 1.3 billion, almost half – 46 percent – are thought to be living in severe poverty and are deprived in at least half of the dimensions covered in the MPI.

But while there is much to be done, there are promising signs that such poverty can be – and is being – tackled. In India, the first country for which progress over time has been estimated, 271 million people moved out of poverty between 2005/06 and 2015/16. The poverty rate there has nearly halved, falling from 55 percent to 28 percent over the ten-year period.

Released by; Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative.