OPHI and UNDP Regional MPI Brief: Leaving no one behind: Asia and the Pacific Region 2021



Across pre-pandemic Asia and the Pacific Region (APR), there was an improvement in the poverty levels of those who are poor according to the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI), but there are many still left behind.


Key findings




Across 21 countries and 3.9 billion people with global MPI data in the APR region, around 640 million were MPI poor according to the latest pre-pandemic datasets.


Among the MPI poor, 530 million live in South Asia and just over 110 million in East Asia and the Pacific, the two subregions of the APR.


About 29 percent of the population in the APR are children aged 0–17, but unfortunately 43 percent of poor people – 278 million – are children.


Multidimensional poverty incidence varies greatly at the subnational level – from less than 1 percent in Bangkok (Thailand) to over 95 percent in Urozgan (Afghanistan).




Data on trends for 14 countries with over 3.8 billion people are included in this analysis, and 13 of them have seen significant reductions in MPI.


Timor-Leste and Lao PDR reduced MPI the fastest.


In all countries, except Viet Nam, multidimensional poverty for children reduced as fast or faster than adults.


Among indicators, cooking fuel and electricity often had the fastest reductions.


India had the largest reduction in the number of poor persons – over 270 million in a decade.


Severe poverty incidence reduced faster than MPI incidence in Afghanistan in absolute terms, while all 14 countries reduced the severe poverty headcount ratio faster than the MPI headcount ratio in relative terms.


In six countries, the poorest subnational region reduced MPI the fastest.


For 9 of the 14 countries, reductions in MPI were mostly pro-poor, in that the poorest subnational regions tended to reduce MPI the fastest.


Source: UN Development Programme


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