Identifying the 'Bottom Billion': Beyond National Averages.


The world now carries over seven billion human beings. Where do the poorest billion of us - the ‘bottom billion’ in terms of multidimensional poverty - live? The question is important to constructing effective policies and informing institutions and movements seeking to reduce poverty. This policy brief does two things: first, it zooms in on the poorest billion based on a multidimensional approach and, second, it goes beyond national aggregates. In particular, it looks at the bottom billion first at the subnational level and then, for the first time, using individual poverty profiles. The analysis is based on the global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) - a measure of acute poverty in over 100 developing countries, which includes information on health, education, and living standards, and is published in UNDP’s Human Development Report. As the authors show, the MPI allows us to undertake subnational and individual level analyses and so go beyond national averages that hide inequality.


Alkire, S.; Roche, J.; Seth, S. Identifying the ‘Bottom Billion’: Beyond National Averages. (2013) 8 pp.

Identifying the ‘Bottom Billion’: Beyond National Averages.

Published 1 January 2013