Multidimensional Poverty in the United States

3 December, 2019

This year the U.S. Census Bureau published a report with an innovative multidimensional poverty measurement exercise called the Multidimensional Deprivation Index (MDI), which is in- tended to complement, without replacing, the official income-based poverty measures.

The MDI, which is based on the Alkire-Foster method, has six dimensions: standard of living, edu- cation, health, economic security, housing quality, and neighbourhood quality.

Data for 2017 indicate that, according to the MDI, 15.4% of the population is multidimensionally poor, somewhat more than the official measurement for monetary poverty at 13.4%. Standard of living and housing quality were the largest contributors to the MDI.

It is interesting to see how the dimensions making up the MDI are measured; this is shown in the table below.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau. More information here.


This article was published in Dimensions 8.

Multidimensional Poverty United States