According to the 2022 Multi-dimensional Poverty Index survey conducted by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and other partners – over half of the population of Nigeria is multidimensionally poor and cooks with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than cleaner energy, with high deprivations apparent nationally in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity, and housing. This is higher than the incidence of monetary poverty as accounted by the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line – 40.1% of Nigerians are indicated to be poor according to the 2018/19 national monetary poverty line.
So, what does it mean to be multidimensionally poor?
Multidimensional poverty is a way of understanding poverty that goes beyond income-based measures. It recognizes that poverty is not just about a lack of money but encompasses a range of different deprivations that people who experience poverty face in their daily lives. These deprivations can include a lack of access to healthcare, education, food, water, energy, family planning, exposure to violence and threats to safety, environmental hazards, among others.
The Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index (2022) was launched in November 2022. It is built from 15 indicators grouped within four dimensions: health, education, living standards, and work and shocks. A household is considered poor if they are deprived in more than one dimension or the equivalent share (26%) of the weighted indicators measured in the MPI.
Other results from the survey are as follows:
- Multidimensional poverty is higher in rural areas, where 72% of people are poor, compared to 42% of people in urban areas.
- 65% of the poor (86 million people) live in the North, while 35% (nearly 47 million) live in the South. Poverty levels across states vary significantly, with the incidence of multidimensional poverty ranging from a low of 27% in Ondo to a high of 91% in Sokoto.
- The National MPI is 0.257, indicating that poor people in Nigeria experience just over one-quarter of all possible deprivations.
The discoveries from this research hold significant implications for Nigeria’s policy landscape. It is essential for policymakers and stakeholders to acknowledge that poverty is not solely a matter of income disparities. It encompasses a wide range of challenges, necessitating efforts to improve access to vital services, elevate living standards, and foster socio-economic growth across different dimensions of poverty.