How we measure poverty can importantly influence how we come to understand it, how we analyze it, and how we create policies to influence it. For this reason, measurement methodologies can be of tremendous practical relevance. Most countries of the world define poverty in a unidimensional way, using income or consumption levels. But poor people go beyond income in defining their experience of poverty. They often include a lack of education, health, housing, empowerment, humiliation, employment, personal security and more. No one indicator, such as income or consumption, is uniquely able to capture the multiple aspects that contribute to poverty. Furthermore, levels and trends of income poverty are not highly correlated with trends in other basic variables such as child mortality, primary school completion rates, or undernourishment (Bourguignon et al 2010: 24, 27). A person or household can be income poor but multidimensionally non-poor, or income rich but in multidimensional poverty.
Alkire, S. Measuring Multidimensional Poverty: Insights from Around the World. (2013) 16 pp.