Thailand's multidimensional poverty index improves, lowest among Asean countries

BANGKOK, Oct 12 (Bernama): Thailand’s multidimensional poverty rate continues to improve and latest report showed 176,000 people moving out of poverty, according to United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s new analysis.

In a statement, UNDP said Thailand’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) is 0.002, the lowest among Asean countries included in the study.

The other Asean countries include Myanmar (0.176), Cambodia (0.170), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (0.108), Philippines (0.024), Viet Nam (0.019), and Indonesia (0.014).

In a statement, UNDP said Thailand’s score is also lower than that of the East Asia and the Pacific (0.023) region, the report said.

"Thailand’s MPI had improved before COVID-19. The current MPI score of 0.002 is based on the 2019 survey, while in 2015/2016 and 2012, the index was 0.003 and 0.005 respectively.

"From the latest survey, 176,000 people moved out of poverty because of better access to basic infrastructure such as sanitation, drinking water, electricity, and housing.

"Nevertheless, access to education, especially years of schooling, as well as access to nutrition remain major sources of deprivation. These aspects require particular attention, as the pandemic has hit the most vulnerable population the hardest,” it said.

The MPI released by UNDP and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), is a measure that looks beyond income to include 10 indicators that capture the education, health, and standard of living dimensions, where a lower score implies a lower poverty ranking.

The 2021 MPI covers 109 developing countries, which are home to 5.9 billion people.

The report showed that 70 countries studied, covering roughly 5 billion people, experienced a statistically significant reduction in their multidimensional poverty levels at for least one period during the two decades before the Covid-19.

The statement said 1.3 billion people - about 92 percent of the population in developing countries - remain multidimensionally poor.

While complete data on Covid-19’s impacts on the MPI were not yet available, the statement said the pandemic has exposed cracks in social protections systems, education, and workers’ vulnerability around the world.

These cracks, the report shows, are deepest in countries with higher levels of multidimensional poverty, it said.

The report said the severity of the Covid-19 crisis in the world’s poorest countries has been underestimated because limited direct mortality has kept them outside the international spotlight.

"Analysis showed that people in the poorest countries are being impacted in far reaching ways with consequences that remain to be seen,” it said.

UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner said the Covid-19 pandemic has eroded development progress around the world. - Bernama

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