Saturday, June 3, 2017
India has 31% of world’s poor kids: report
About 31% of the world’s “multidimensionally poor” children live in India, according to a new report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), a poverty reduction project grounded in economist Amartya Sen’s ‘capability approach’.
“In terms of countries, fully 31% of the 689 million poor children live in India, followed by Nigeria (8%), Ethiopia (7%) and Pakistan (6%),” noted the survey, titled ‘Global Multidimensional Poverty Index [MPI], 2017’. OPHI is an economic research centre at the Oxford University, led by Professor Sabina Alkire, and the study is based on a survey conducted among 103 countries.
A “multidimensionally poor” child is one who lacks at least one-third of ten indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living. The health dimension comprises indicators such as nutrition, child mortality, and education. Under standard of living are indicators such as access to cooking fuel, improved sanitation, safe drinking water, electricity, flooring, and asset ownership.
In terms of the number of such multidimensionally poor children as a proportion of the total population, India stood 37th among 103 countries. Out of India’s 217 million (21.7 crore) children, 49.9% were multidimensionally poor. However, the survey pointed out that the data for India were “somewhat outdated”, being based on the Indian Human Development Survey of 2011-2012.
“In terms of absolute numbers, India accounts for both the highest and a staggering number of multi-dimensionally poor people. Sadly, more than 528 million (52.8 crore) Indians are poor, which is more people than all the poor people living in Sub-Saharan Africa combined,” the survey noted. It further stated that nearly 50% of the children in 103 countries were multidimensionally poor.
“Of the 1.45 billion (145 crore) people (from the 103 countries) who are multidimensionally poor; 48% are children. That is a total of 689 million (68.9 crore) children who live in multidimensional poverty,” said thereport. According to the study, 87% of the multidimensionally poor children lived in South Asia (44 percent) and Sub-Saharan Africa (43%). “In Ethiopia, Niger, and South Sudan, over 90 % of the children are MPI poor,” it stated.
As for the intensity of poverty, the average percentage of deprivation in terms of the 10 MPI categories was highest in Sub-Saharan Africa, where multidimensionally poor children were “simultaneously deprived” in 58% of the indicators. Sub-Saharan Africa was followed by the region described as the Arab States (53%). South Asia occupied the third spot, with children deprived in 49% of the MPI indicators.
Describing the findings as “deeply disturbing”, the director of OPHI Sabina Alkire said, “This is a wake-up call to the international community which has adopted the global Sustainable Development Goals and takes seriously Goal 1, the eradication of poverty in all its forms and dimensions.”