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Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2021: Unmasking disparities by ethnicity, caste and gender

October 7, 2021

This report provides a comprehensive picture of acute multidimensional poverty to inform the work of countries and communities building a more just future for the global poor. Part I focuses on where we are now. It examines the levels and composition of multidimensional poverty across 109 countries covering 5.9 billion people. It also discusses trends among more than 5 billion people in 80 countries, 70 of which showed a statistically significant reduction in Multidimensional Poverty Index value during at least one of the time periods presented. While the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on developed countries is already an active area of research, this report offers a multidimensional poverty perspective on the experience of developing countries. It explores how the pandemic has affected three key development indicators (social protection, livelihoods and school attendance), in association with multidimensional poverty, with a focus predominantly on Sub-Saharan Africa. Part II profiles disparities in multidimensional poverty with new research that scrutinizes estimates disaggregated by ethnicity or race and by caste to identify who and how people are being left behind. It also explores the proportion of multidimensionally poor people who live in a household in which no female member has completed at least six years of schooling and presents disparities in multidimensional poverty by gender of the household head. Finally, it probes interconnections between the incidence of multidimensional poverty and intimate partner violence against women and girls.