Our work on measuring the progress of people out of poverty is about driving commitments and investment towards improving poverty data, and unpacking existing data to start building a clearer and more accurate picture of poverty

The issue: poor data puts people at risk of being left behind

Significant efforts have been made to end poverty over the last 15 years but progress has varied significantly across regions, even within countries. Much of the reduction in poverty since 2000 has been achieved in just a handful of countries. In fact, between 2002 and 2011, just five countries accounted for over 85% of the reduction in the number of people living in extreme poverty. Global and national aggregates disguise the patchy progress of people in poverty, and an overall lack of quality data often camouflages what is happening at the local level.

A lack of information about people in poverty contributes to keeping them there; without knowing exactly who is in poverty, where they are and what services are available to them, we are unable to direct help to those who really need it. As a result, progress out of poverty has been hampered, particularly among certain groups. Without accurate monitoring and reporting on the true levels and complexity of poverty, there is a real risk of leaving some people behind, preventing us from achieving the goal of ending extreme poverty 2030.

Our role: making people count

Data, especially disaggregated sub-national data, has the power to bring about a greater understanding of poverty and enables us to measure people’s progress accurately. We need to look beyond the top-line statistics that are often used and consider the reality of the lives of people in poverty.

 Our work seeks to:

  • Drive commitments and much-needed investment towards improving poverty data.
  • Unpack the poverty data that does exist, bringing in new global and subnational data to start building a clearer and more accurate picture of poverty.

To achieve this:

We work with others to create the environment, political will and – as a result – the financial and technical investments needed to improve data on the poorest and most vulnerable people.

We go beyond global poverty numbers and concentrate on increasing disaggregated national and subnational data, collected from multiple sources, particularly where poverty and vulnerability are high and current data quality is poor.

We seek to improve methods that global organisations and national governments can use to identify those who are most at risk from conflict, climate change and other major causes of crisis. We do this by helping them use data better and by providing data mapping of fragile and vulnerable populations.

We use data to demonstrate who is making progress and where, as well as to identify who is being left behind.

We strive for agreement within the global community on a shared and more practical way of measuring the progress of people out of poverty.


Read more about our work on poverty data in our organisational strategy

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