printUse ctrl + p to print the page

Lifting the lid on the household: A new way to measure individual deprivation

Authors: Scott Wisor, Joanne Crawford, Sharon Besselland Janet Hunt

Publication date: 23 April 2015

Most experts now agree that monetary poverty measurement should be complemented by multidimensional measurements. The individual, not the household, should be the unit of analysis. Poverty measurement should reflect the views and priorities of poor people. And in so far as possible, measurement should provide meaningful comparisons across contexts and over time. Enter the Individual Deprivation Measure.

Five years ago, an international, interdisciplinary team led by the Australian National University set out to develop a genuinely gender-sensitive poverty measure. Working with poor women and men in Angola, Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique and the Philippines, we aimed to build from participants’ views to an internationally comparable measure of deprivation. We sought to bridge the gap between existing global measures determined without input from poor women and men, and highly localised poverty assessments that cannot be generalised.

In the first phase of participatory research, local research teams worked with poor men and women to determine how they conceived of poverty and hardship and how deprivation should be measured. In the second phase of research, participants told us which of the most commonly identified dimensions from Phase One were most important in determining whether a life was free from poverty and hardship.