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Multidimensional child poverty

Multidimensional child poverty

SDG 1 calls for the eradication of poverty, in all its forms, for every man, woman and child.

Children don’t control income, and they depend on the adults in their life to fulfill their needs. Children’s needs also change rapidly: a 3-year-old’s needs are quite different from those of an 8-year-old. This impacts heavily on the way poverty is experienced by children, even among children within the same household.

A multidimensional approach to child poverty is an essential complement to standard monetary poverty measurement. Research on multidimensional poverty aims to measure the actual access of children to goods and services that are fundamental for their full development and essential for the fulfillment of their rights under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) is a tool developed at UNICEF Innocenti that measures and defines multidimensional child poverty, based on the CRC. It allows us to gain a clearer picture of which dimensions of poverty children are experiencing, providing enhanced analytics to guide programming and policy responses. MODA is a practical and flexible tool that allows rigorous measurement of multidimensional child poverty in different contexts, as well as in-depth monitoring of SDG target 1.2. More than 50 national studies and 3 regional studies using MODA have been produced.

MODA can act as a supportive tool in planning interventions and policies that are more effective in targeting and revealing the most deprived children. It can also provide important evidence required to plan delivery of multi-sectoral interventions through the analysis of overlaps. Finally, MODA can be adapted to critical situations such as humanitarian crises and displacement, providing us with extremely valuable information not otherwise readily available.

 

Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) can be applied using various surveys, ranging from local to international levels, such as the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS). DHS and MICS provide suitable data on child deprivation in low- and middle-income countries. When evaluating surveys for MODA, it is important to select dimensions and indicators that are relevant in each country setting. Here is a list of common indicators in each dimension for different age groups.  These are taken from previous MODA studies that used MICS or DHS questionnaires. But the list can be adapted for use with other surveys, such as household budget or living conditions studies. See the “MODA HOW-TO Guide” for more information about how to use this approach to multidimensional child poverty analysis.

Download the MODA Brochure.

 

Publications

Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries
Publication Publication

Supporting Families and Children Beyond COVID-19: Social protection in high-income countries

COVID-19 constitutes the greatest crisis that high-income countries have seen in many generations. While many high-income countries experienced the global financial crisis of 2007–2008, or have had national recessions, the COVID-19 pandemic is much more than that. COVID-19 is a social and economic crisis, sparked by a protracted health crisis. High-income countries have very limited experience of dealing with health crises, having their health and human services stretched beyond capacity, restricting the travel of their populations or having to close workplaces and schools – let alone experience of all of these things combined. These unique conditions create new and serious challenges for the economies and societies of all high-income countries. As these challenges evolve, children – as dependants – are among those at greatest risk of seeing their living standards fall and their personal well-being decline. This new UNICEF Innocenti report explores how the social and economic impact of the pandemic is likely to affect children; the initial government responses to the crisis; and how future public policies could be optimized to better support children.
Multidimensional child poverty measurement in Sierra Leone and Lao PDR: Contrasting individual- and household-based approaches
Publication Publication

Multidimensional child poverty measurement in Sierra Leone and Lao PDR: Contrasting individual- and household-based approaches

This research brief compares the properties of individual- and household-based multidimensional child poverty approaches. Specifically, it contrasts UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) with the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) developed by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. MODA focuses on children and is rooted in the child rights approach, while MPI has been developed for households and follows Sen’s (1985) capabilities approach. We demonstrate their similarities and differences using two recent Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys: Sierra Leone and Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). The analysis suggests that MODA tends to produce higher multidimensional child poverty headcount rates than MPI, both because of the differences in the survey items used to construct the indicators of deprivation and because of how the indicators are aggregated and weighted.
Do constraints on women worsen child deprivations? Framework, measurement, and evidence from India
Publication Publication

Do constraints on women worsen child deprivations? Framework, measurement, and evidence from India

This paper provides a framework for analyzing constraints that apply specifically to women, which theory suggests may have negative impacts on child outcomes (as well as on women). We classify women’s constraints into four dimensions: (i) low influence on household decisions, (ii) restrictions on mobility, (iii) domestic physical and psychological abuse, and (iv) limited information access. Each of these constraints are in principle determined within households. We test the impact of women’s constraints on child outcomes using nationally representative household Demographic and Health Survey data from India, including 53,030 mothers and 113,708 children, collected in 2015-16. We examine outcomes including nutrition, health, education, water quality, and sanitation. In our primary specification, outcomes are measured as multidimensional deprivations incorporating indicators for each of these deficiencies, utilizing a version of UNICEF’s Multidimensional Overlapping Deprivation Analysis index. We identify causal impacts using a Lewbel specification and present an array of additional econometric strategies and robustness checks. We find that children of women who are subjected to domestic abuse, have low influence in decision making, and limited freedom of mobility are consistently more likely to be deprived, measured both multidimensionally and with separate indicators.

Journal Articles

Measurement of Multidimensional Child Poverty
Journal Article Journal Article

Measurement of Multidimensional Child Poverty

Multidimensional child poverty defines children who experience a state of poverty that is more complex than that defined by a unidimensional measure of poverty, but encompasses child material needs and human rights, in a holistic way.The definition of child poverty agreed by the UN General Assembly was used by Gordon, Townsend, and their colleagues from the University of Bristol for their study on child poverty in the developing world (Gordon et al. 2003). It gives full weight to material deprivation as the main element of child poverty, stating that children living in poverty are deprived in multiple domains of their lives (i.e., nutrition, water and sanitation, education, shelter, and protection among others) and that the lack of goods and access to services can represent a severe threat for their growth and development (United Nations General Assembly 2007).Multidimensional child poverty encompasses the various deprivations experienced by children in their daily lives....
Multidimensional Child Poverty in three Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa
Journal Article Journal Article

Multidimensional Child Poverty in three Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa

This paper describes and reviews the process of constructing a Multidimensional Child Poverty Measure in three sub-Saharan Africa countries: Mali, Malawi, and Tanzania. These countries recently (in 2015 and 2014) constructed a measure of multidimensional child poverty using UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) methodology and conducted a comprehensive child poverty study including both deprivation and monetary poverty. This work describes how the methodology was adapted in the different contexts, discussing critical issues that arose during the study process, and compares the results of the three studies. The goal is to offer an overview of the different national processes and determine how similar or different factors influence the results.
Multidimensional Poverty Among Adolescents in 38 Countries: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2013/14 Study
Journal Article Journal Article

Multidimensional Poverty Among Adolescents in 38 Countries: Evidence from the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2013/14 Study

This study applied UNICEF’s Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) framework to adolescents (aged 11, 13 and 15) in 37 European countries and Canada using data from the 2013/14 Health Behaviour in School-aged Children survey. It is one of the first applications of MODA based entirely on data collected from adolescents themselves rather than from household reference persons on their behalf. Unlike most other multidimensional child poverty studies, the present analysis focuses on non-material, relational aspects of child poverty. Substantial cross-country variation was found in the prevalence of adolescent deprivations in nutrition, perceived health, school environment, protection from peer violence, family environment and information access. These single dimensions of poverty did not closely relate to national wealth and income inequality. However, when we looked at deprivation in three or more dimensions (i.e., multidimensional poverty), we found association with income inequality. In most countries, girls were at a higher risk of multidimensional poverty than boys. In addition, adolescents who lived with both parents in the household or reported higher family wealth were consistently less poor than other adolescents, in both single and multiple dimensions. The results of this study show the interconnectedness of social (family, school support) and psychological (health and violence) dimensions of poverty for adolescents in higher income countries. Children poor in the domains of family and school environment are also likely to be poor in terms of perceived health and protection from peer violence.

News & Commentary

First global estimates of food insecurity among households with children
Article Article

First global estimates of food insecurity among households with children

Using data from FAO and Gallup we calculate prevalence of food security in homes with children in 147 countries showing that 41 per cent of the world’s households with children experience moderate or severe food insecurity.
Global workshop raises capacity on Public Finance for Children
Article Article

Global workshop raises capacity on Public Finance for Children

Group photo of participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.(28 Sept 2017) Nearly 100 UNICEF staff, managers and specialists from 62 countries recently gathered at UNICEF Innocenti in Florence for two one-week workshops on public finance for children. The workshops aimed to enhance staff knowledge on public budgeting and finance management and to build skills to advocate, design, and oversee technical support for publicly financed programmes for children. After the training, participants will be better equipped to help strengthen public finance management systems with the ultimate goal of sustaining and scaling up programme results, particularly for the most vulnerable children and their families.UNICEF Innocenti, in collaboration with Oxford Policy Management, hosted the back-back five-day workshops from September 18 – 29, 2017. The workshops are part of a broader training mandate to educate programme and management staff to make public resources work more effectively for children. Participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.“With many more countries joining the category of ‘middle income status’, and thus becoming more reliant on domestic resources, UNICEF needs to have the capacity to leverage these resources for children,” said Waithira Gikonyo, Senior Learning Advisor for UNICEF and training focal point for the public finance for children workshops. “We also hope the participants will have developed the ability and confidence to advocate for increased and improved public investments in services for children.” She cited the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Addis Ababa Financing for Development Agenda, both of which call for increased investments to achieve the global goals, as motivators for why UNICEF staff should be developing the capacity to advocate for greater investments for children. UNICEF Innocenti’s Chief of Social Policy, Jose Cuesta, presented on his latest research initiative which integrates public finance, multidimensional child poverty, and fiscal incidence analysis as part of a new analytical framework which he terms ‘commitment to equity for children,’ or ‘CEQ4C.’ This new framework aims to integrate measurement, diagnostics and policy analysis of equity in public finance in order to more effectively fund interventions for children.  According to Cuesta, the commitment to equity framework is a natural link to public finance for children because it builds from the best practices of fiscal incidence analysis and provides a child equity lens for public finance.Jose Cuesta, Chief of Social Policy at the Public Finance for Children workshop held in Sala Brunnelschi, Ospedale degli Innocenti, Florence, Italy.“Participants are shown that different strands of work that UNICEF does separately can be combined and integrated consistently to address more effectively questions they face every day in regards to right investments for children, multidimensional child poverty, effective interventions, monitoring and evaluation, among others,” said Cuesta.Cuesta presented findings from preliminary applications of the commitment to equity for children approach from Uganda and Guatemala, and hopes to garner interest from seminar participants to expand research in other countries. “Uganda and Guatemala are the first applications of CEQ4C as proof of concept,” he said. “We need more countries, ideally from each region, to fully develop the framework, refine the engagement process with local counterparts and analyse specific policies in concrete contexts. Any country is welcome to join.”Naomi Mbaya, Finance Officer for UNICEF’s Nigeria programme, participated in the workshop because it was “relevant in achieving equitable results for the Nigerian child.” “The importance of the course work cannot be overemphasized,” she added, “as this has enhanced skills in evaluating and analysing public expenditures for children.” Participants during week one of the PF4C workshop hosted by UNICEF Innocenti in Florence, Italy.Carmen van Heese, Emergency Advisor for the UNICEF East Asia region based in Bangkok, Thailand, attended the workshop in order to bridge the gaps in budgeting and finance solutions for emergency responses.  “Responding to the needs of children remains a cornerstone of UNICEF’s work in emergencies, especially in East Asia and the Pacific,” she said. “UNICEF’s approach has evolved more into strengthening systems and engaging with governments on best practices, system building and technical cooperation. In order to do this better, we need to speak the language of public financing, especially for how to budget for humanitarian assistance.”The public finance management for children workshop is part of a training course that also includes online e-learning training components with UNICEF’s free learning and development platform, AGORA. The hands-on training enables participants to explore case studies and scenarios to tackle budget and public finance management problems specific to the context of their country programs.For more information on public finance for children (PF4C):PF4C Technical Guidance Note Series, No. 1: How to Engage in Budget Cycles and Processes to Leverage Government Budgets for ChildrenPF4C Working Paper, No. 2: Child-focused Public Expenditure Measurement: A Compendium of Country InitiativesUNICEF AGORA Training Course: Public Finance for Children
Knowledge for Children in Africa: 2018 Publications Catalogue Published
Article Article

Knowledge for Children in Africa: 2018 Publications Catalogue Published

 (4 July 2018) Each year, UNICEF and its partners in Africa generate a wealth of evidence about the situation of children. The 2018 edition of the Knowledge for Children in Africa Publications Catalogue represents the collective knowledge produced by UNICEF Country and Regional Offices across Africa. Knowledge and evidence are essential to informing the development, monitoring and implementation of policies and programmes for the realization of children’s rights.In Africa, the current demographic revolution will see the under-18 population increase by two thirds, reaching almost 1 billion by 2050. These figures underscore an urgent need for strong evidence to inform the implementation of social policies and budgets for children.The under-18 population in Africa will reach almost 1 billion by 2050.The catalogue features over 130 of the most important reports and studies that UNICEF and its partners have generated on the situation of children and young people across the continent. Covering a wide range of topics - including Child Poverty; Education and Early Childhood Development; and Social Protection among others - the publication captures some of the most advanced work to support efforts by children and young people to realize their rights to survival, development and protection.UNICEF Innocenti has contributed extensively to evidence generation efforts in Africa. Within the Child Poverty topic alone, seven reports adopt Innocenti’s MODA tool for measuring multi-dimensional child poverty. Commenting on this, Social and Economic Policy expert Lucia Ferrone, notes an increase in efforts to track and measure child poverty in more African countries over recent years. “It’s great to see so many countries not only join the measurement, but also embrace UNICEF’s measure of child multidimensional poverty,” says Ferrone. “MODA was the first measure used to assess child poverty in the Sub-Saharan Africa region, revealing that as many as 67% of children were multidimensionally poor. Now, countries are using MODA to adapt their national needs and priorities.”"It’s tremendous to see countries like Mali proceed on the second round of child poverty measurement since 2014."The catalogue aims to more effectively disseminate knowledge and evidence being generated in Africa for key African constituencies working on children’s rights and development, and promote improved south-south learning exchange among countries. This third edition of the catalogue adds to the fast-growing evidence base on the situation of children in Africa.  Download the full catalogue in the “Related Content” column on the right of this article.

Events

Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) training
Event Event

Multiple Overlapping Deprivation Analysis (MODA) training

11 July 2019 - How can we measure child poverty in the unique contexts of Eastern Europe and Central Asia?UNICEF Innocenti held a training course to introduce multidimensional child poverty measurement to national stakeholders and UNICEF country office specialists from the Europe and Central Asia region. Participants were introduced to measurement of child poverty and completed exercises using national statistics to develop nationally contextually appropriate indicators for measuring child poverty in their countries.