New UN Report Shows Inequality Between Ethnic Groups Huge |

The UNDP’s Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) (UNDP) and Oxford Initiative on Poverty and Human Developmentalso found that in nine specific ethnic groups, more than 90 percent of the population lives in poverty.

In some cases, differences between ethnic and racial groups are greater than between regions within a country. Moreover, the differences in the Index by Ethnicity are greater than for all 109 countries and for all other tested variables.

An indigenous woman with a child in Nariño, Colombia. In Latin America, indigenous peoples are among the poorest. , PAHO / Karen Gonzalez Abril

In addition to income, the Index measures poverty using a variety of indicators, including poor health, inadequate education and low living standards.

The study for the report was conducted in 109 countries, covering 5.9 billion people, and is disaggregated by ethnicity / race / caste for 41 countries.

Regional differences

Within a country, multidimensional poverty among different ethnic groups can vary greatly.

For example, in Latin America, indigenous peoples are among the poorest. In Bolivia, indigenous communities make up about 44 percent of the population, but represent 75 percent of the multidimensionally poor.

The numbers are also startling for India, where five out of six people in this situation were from “lower tribes or castes,” according to UNDP


In proposing solutions to this problem, the authors point to the example of the two poorest ethnic groups in the Gambia, which have roughly the same importance in the Index, but have different deprivations to show that to find effective solutions for different cases.

Focusing on gender, the report shows that around the world, about two-thirds of the multidimensionally poor, or 836 million, live in households where no woman or girl has completed at least six years of schooling.

In addition, one-sixth of all people in this situation, about 215 million, live in families in which at least one boy or man has completed six or more years of schooling, but a girl or woman has not.

The report also concludes that these women and girls are at a higher risk of being victims of intimate partner violence.


Source: Multidimensional Poverty.

Major finds

In the 109 countries surveyed, 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor.

About half of them, 644 million, are children under the age of 18; and nearly 85 percent live in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. More than 67 percent live in middle-income countries.

Living in multidimensional poverty can mean very different things.

For example, about 1 billion people are at risk to health from solid cooking fuels, another billion live in poor sanitary conditions, and another billion have substandard housing.

About 788 million people live in households with at least one malnourished person and about 568 million people do not have access to improved drinking water within a 30-minute walk back and forth.

For UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner, this is a reminder “to have a complete picture of how people suffer from poverty, who they are and where they live.”

Mr Steiner also emphasized COVID-19 the factor of the pandemic, which stated that the international community “is still trying to understand its consequences.”


Source: Multidimensional Poverty.


While multidimensional poverty remains high, there have been signs of progress in some countries, at least prior to the outbreak of the pandemic.

Of the 80 countries and 5 billion people for which data are available over time, 70 have lowered their multidimensional poverty index in at least one period. The fastest changes have occurred in Sierra Leone and Togo.

Sabine Alkir, Director of OPHI at Oxford University, emphasized the need to address the structural inequalities that oppress and impede progress.

In her opinion, disaggregating multidimensional poverty data by ethnicity, race, caste and gender “exposes differences and is a vital guide for policymakers so that no one is left behind to act in the last decade.”

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