Use of household income and consumption data as a measure of poverty in rural Bangladesh.
Reduction of poverty has been the single most important goal in all development efforts in the recent past. Although there is a general understanding of what poverty is, its measurement has always been a challenge. Difficulty arises in determining which approach one should adopt and what indicators to use in measuring poverty. The type of poverty measures and indicators to be used depends on the purpose of measurement. Policy-makers quite often look for the number of people below the poverty line to assess the success or failure of policies. Programme managers at the grassroots level look for easily measurable proxy indicators, which are useful to identify the poor and bring them under the coverage of different programmes and also to measure changes. In addition, the challenges faced vary by the nature of the economy in the society where the measurement is to be carried out. Poverty lines, such as the population living with less than US$1 a day, are generally used for cross-national comparisons. In the recent past, attempts have been made to use household assets to classify households into various groups of socioeconomic status in a relative sense. Whether direct or indirect measures and indicators are used, it is important to know how well they are consistent in identifying the poor. However, the selection of indicators would finally be judged by taking into consideration the marginal gain in precision weighing against easiness of collection of data and analysis and finally practicable applicability. It is against this background that this paper examined the correspondence of results between various methods and indicators used for assessing poverty in a rural setting in Bangladesh.
Chowdhury, R.; Mushtaque, A.; Syed Masud Ahmed; Wahed, T.; Bhuiya, A. Use of household income and consumption data as a measure of poverty in rural Bangladesh. (2007) 29 pp.