Gender differences in multidimensional poverty in low- and middle-income countries: An assessment based on individual poverty indices

Burchi, Francesco / Daniele Malerba
External Publications (2024)

published on, 10.01.2024

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Despite the growing demand for gender-disaggregated statistics on poverty, there is no cross-country evidence of gender disparities in poverty because poverty – both monetary and multidimensional – is measured at the household level. This paper contributes to filling this gap, by using two novel individual-level indices of multidimensional poverty. Relying on recent data from 83 low- and middle-income countries, it finds that almost everywhere female poverty exceeds male poverty. In the median country, female poverty is between 57 and 76 percent higher than male poverty. Moreover, our calculations indicate that around 54 percent of the multidimensional poor are women: this percentage grows up to 63 percent if we focus on the extreme poor. Gender disparities in poverty are especially higher in the MENA and South Asia region, in rural areas and are mostly driven by disparities in employment. Finally, the paper shows that the majority of countries experienced an increase in the female/male multidimensional poverty ratio. In brief, we show that poverty is predominantly a female problem and that over the last two decades there has often been a feminization of poverty.

About the authors

Burchi, Francesco

Development Economy


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