Data collection methods and poverty measures have not caught up with the reality of an increasingly urbanised world; as a result, urban poverty may be underestimated. This has important implications for targeting interventions and allocating resources in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Several problems affect the measurement of urban poverty: definitions of ‘slum’ settlements vary widely, data collection may undercount slum populations, insufficient data disaggregation may conceal intra-city disparities, and common indicators and assumptions may be ill-suited to assessing both income and multidimensional poverty in urban contexts. However, not enough is known about the extent to which these issues affect the resulting estimates. This paper contributes to the existing literature by illustrating the scale of the bias associated with common practices in measuring urban poverty at different stages of the production of poverty estimates. The analysis draws on selected examples in the literature alongside new analysis of data from Demographic and Health Surveys and Household Income and Expenditure Surveys. The article also provides recommendations on how to address each of these problems to improve urban poverty measurement. Read more.
A New Profile of the Global Poor
This paper presents a new demographic profile of extreme and moderate poverty, defined as those living on less than $1.90 and between $1.90 and $3.10 per day in 2013, based on household survey data from 89 developing countries. The face of poverty is primarily rural and young; 80% of the extreme poor and 75% of the moderate poor live in rural areas. Over 45% of the extreme poor are children younger than 15 years old, and nearly 60% of the extreme poor live in households with three or more children. Gender differences in poverty rates are muted, and there is scant evidence of gender inequality in poor children’s educational attainment. A sizable share of the extreme and moderate poor, 40 and 50%, respectively, have completed primary school. Compared with the extreme poor, the moderate poor are significantly more likely to have completed primary school and are less likely to work in agriculture. After conditioning on other individual and household characteristics, having fewer than three children, having greater educational attainment, and living in an urban area are strongly and positively associated with welfare. The results reinforce the central importance of households in rural areas and those containing large numbers of children in efforts to reduce extreme poverty, and are consistent with increased educational attainment and urbanization hastening poverty reduction. Read more.
What are SDGs?
The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations. The broad goals are interrelated though each has its own targets to achieve. The total number of targets is 169. The SDGs cover a broad range of social and economic development issues.