An engaging article from The Economist suggesting that income is not the only aspect of life that people care about. There are other variables that have an impact on people’s lives. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative have devised the Multi-Dimensional Poverty Index (MPI) which asks 10 questions:
2 on education
2 on health
6 on household standard of living
Each of these is given a weighting in the overall index. A household is deemed poor if its hardship adds up to at least 33%. The index addresses other developments not just income per day. Nepal improved health and living standards but was slower to improve education or widen access to drinking water. In Rwanda the availability of water and sanitation accounted for a large part of its development. Ultimately the index focuses the importance of measuring standards of living away from consumer durables to that of drinking water, sanitation and health. Policymakers have in the past looked at statistics in a vacuum with a focus on purchasing power rather than other variables of equal importance.