Multidimensionality of Poverty: Bangladesh Perspectives


Poverty refers to forms of economic, social, and psychological deprivation among people arising from a lack of ownership and control of or access to resources for the attainment of a required minimum level of living. Poverty is not only a matter of material deprivation but also one of immaterial deprivation such as afflictions, oppression. For a long time, poverty was measured uni-dimensionally (only in terms of material deprivation) around the world where income or expenditure was considered as the main parameter. Now, the measurement of unidimensional poverty is viewed as an overly narrow definition that overlooks the social, physical, psychological, cultural, and political aspects. Consequently, different aspects of poverty have been explored, such as the social exclusion and deprivation approach, the human rights approach, the participatory poverty approach etc.

A broader approach to poverty analysis was also suggested by the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) offered by the UNDP and the University of Oxford in 2010 wherein there are 10 indicators grouped under three dimensions. The United Nations has agreed that all countries should aim to reduce all forms of poverty by 2030. In general, most developing countries measure income poverty which is $1.90 per day. But poverty is not just about money; it is everything else. This study tries to reach a consensus about what poverty in all its forms means. The intention is to make recommendations to policymakers about how poverty should be properly measured and policies monitored to ensure that poverty rates fall rather than rising. The United Nations recommends that children and young people be consulted as well as adults.

The 2012– 2014 evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals showed that anything done for populations in poverty without their involvement works against them. Many anti-poverty policies are carried out using specific indicators, but without consulting the populations who are meant to benefit. therefore, we need to tackle the problem at its root by working directly with these populations.

ATD Fourth World and the University of Oxford have launched a participatory research project initially entitled “Dimensions of poverty and how to measure them” to develop new measures of poverty and to establish their relative importance and to explore how the various dimensions are related. In this research, the Merging of Knowledge (MoK) method was used to identify the dimensions of poverty.

“Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime.”

— Aristotle, Greek philosopher