Lurking in the Shadows: A Closer Look at Multidimensional Poverty in Sri Lanka
ECONOMYNEXT- Around 11.5 percent of Sri Lankans are facing multidimentional or near multidimensional poverty, according to a new study done by the Institute of Policy Studies, a Colombo-based think tank.
Multidimensional poverty measures health, education and living standards, unlike the measurement of income poverty.
The most multidimensionally poor are in the Kandy District, followed by Kurunegala and Ratnapura, the study, done by IPS Senior Visiting Fellow Wimal Nanayakkara.
He recommends region specific strategies to eliminate poverty in Sri Lanka.
The full IPS report follows:
Sunil is a labourer who lives in a small hut with his wife, and their two children, aged seven and four years. Both Sunil and his wife have had schooling only up to grade five. Their hut has no electricity or proper sanitation facilities. The elder child is not in school yet. It is clear that Sunil and his family are facing many deprivations simultaneously, and low income is just one dimension of poverty.
Multidimensional Poverty (MDP) is an effective measure that captures the many different deprivations faced by the poor. Unlike income poverty, MDP takes into consideration the different types of deprivations that individuals experience simultaneously.
The Alkire-Foster Method (AFM), that gauges MDP, involves three dimensions, health, education, and living standards, which are measured through 10 indicators. Figure 1 shows the dimensions, the indicators (deprivations), and the relevant weights used in this analysis.
The MDP reveals the types of deprivations faced by the poor, poverty levels in different regions of the country, and the different sub groups suffering from poverty. It also identifies different types of deprivations, which can help determine region-specific strategies to combat poverty and inequality.
This analysis, based on the Household Income and Expenditure Survey 2016 (HIES-2016), examines the different groups that face MDP, where they live, and the types of deprivations, as well as the percentages of the deprivations they face. It examines both MDP and those in Near Multidimensional Poverty (NMDP).
|The “weighted sum of deprivations” for a household is determined by adding the weights for the deprivations the household is facing simultaneously. Multidimensionally poor are those living in households facing a weighted sum of 33.3% or more of the deprivations and NMDP are those living in households facing a weighted sum of more than 20.0% and less than 33.3% of deprivations.The NMDP are those considered to be vulnerable to MDP. As the weighted sum of deprivations of Sunil’s household in the above example is 44.6% and therefore exceeds 33.3%, Sunil’s family is multidimensionally poor.|
Contributions of Deprivations to MDP and NMDP
The first pie chart in Figure 1 show the magnitude of the contributions of deprivations to MDP. The second shows the corresponding contributions to NMDP. It is clear that the highest contributions to MDP and NMDP are from deprivations 1, 3, 4, and 7. For MDP, the highest contribution (24.5%) is from the lack of education; no one in the household has 6 years of education.
This is followed by the two health-related deprivations, and the lack of access to improved sanitation. These four elements make up almost 75% of the deprivations contributing to MDP.
Economic Intelligence Unit of the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce
Jehan Perera - Executive Director National Peace Council