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Timeline: 2017-2019

Data collection partner:  Survey Meter (data collection)

Study sites: Two districts in Indonesia

Study sample: 5,698 individuals aged 16+ from 2,186 households drawn from 2,106 sampled dwellings. The sample was representative at the district level.


Indonesia Briefing Papers (multiple resources in English and Bahasa Indonesia).

Indonesia Country Study: Pangkajene and Islands Regency

Indonesia Country Study: Jeneponto Regency 

Poverty and vulnerability to COVID 19 in Indonesia (multiple resources in English and Bahasa Indonesia).

The qualitative follow-up to the IDM study in Indonesia

PHOTO: Niyas Paduvil on Unsplash

In 2018 the IDM program undertook an Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) study in Indonesia. The study was led by the ANU IDM team. This work built on an initial proof of concept study in the Philippines in 2013 as part of the original research to develop the IDM (ARC Linkage LP0989385), the first full IDM study in Fiji  in 2015-2016, undertaken by IWDA in partnership with the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, and data collection in Nepal in 2016, undertaken by IWDA with the Nepal research firm, Interdisciplinary Analysts.

The IDM dimensions were developed from participatory research with people experiencing poverty, including in Indonesia. Indicators were informed by this participatory work, by existing measurement approaches and by gender, development and poverty measurement scholarship. The IDM is designed to reveal the gendered and intersectional nature of multidimensional poverty. It is also scalar, rather than binary (poor/not poor), and takes the individual, rather than the household, as the unit of analysis. Consequently, the IDM provides information not only on which sub-groups of a population are multidimensionally poor, but also which deprivation dimensions are experienced together.

The Indonesia IDM study was the first study to use a revised and expanded IDM survey tool following a detailed review of the survey tools. Cognitive testing was undertaken to ensure that the more complex IDM questions could be well understood by survey respondents and that questions were measuring what was intended and could be effectively enumerated. The results informed minor subsequent refinements to the survey.

Enumerator training was undertaken in March 2018, with data collection commencing immediately afterward and completed in late May.

Initial insights

This section shares initial findings from one district, where 2,815 people were surveyed.

Because the IDM collects data about 15 key dimensions of life at the individual level, it enables assessment of how multidimensional poverty varies by factors such as gender and age. This means IDM data can show how poverty varies across different stages of life.  The Indonesia IDM study uses the following three broad life-stage categories:

  • Young adults: 16-24 years of age.
  • Mid-life people: 25-59 years of age.
  • Older adults: 60+ years of age.

Women’s access to sanitary products during menstruation, for example, is an issue not often assessed when measuring poverty but is essential for women’s levels of deprivation, including their health, well-being and levels of social inclusion. The research shows that while all age groups experience deprivation, the dimensions in which deprivation was most pronounced were different at different stages of life. It also demonstrates that particular groups experience similar patterns of deprivation, with deprivation in specific dimensions experienced together. For example, the IDM Indonesia study illuminates the compounding dimensions of poverty for women in mid-life.

The compounding effects of poverty are better understood when we can see the multiple specific dimensions that particularly affect different groups of poor people. The IDM provides detailed information about the particular deprivations experienced by different age groups, which is essential for better-targeted solutions to ensure that no one is left behind.

The deprivation experienced by young people in this district is characterised by uncertainty over housing, a lack of voice, and poor mental health. In midlife different deprivations were more pronounced, especially time-burdens, food, and management of menstruation. Among older participants, the dimensions of greatest deprivation were social relationships, clothing, and electricity. Below are some key initial findings for each age group:

Young adults: 16-24 years

  • Young people aged 16-24 experienced higher rates of feelings of worry, nervousness and anxiety than other age groups, with 56.1 per cent of respondents in this age group expressing such concerns.
  • Anxiety and worry also seem to be gendered. Young women were more likely than young men to report having felt worried, nervous or anxious (62.4 per cent compared to 48.1 per cent).
  • In relation to shelter, the youngest cohort was most likely to fear eviction, twice as likely as the mid-life Interestingly, more young women than young men reported fear of eviction (7.8 per cent comparted to 2.15 per cent).
  • While more young people had concerns compared with the older cohorts, they were far less likely to raise concerns with local leaders, at 33.8 per cent, compared with 62.2 per cent for mid-life people and 66.2 per cent for the oldest cohort.
  • The youngest cohort are also more likely to believe that it is either difficult or very difficult for them to raise concerns, and that they would not be taken seriously by leaders. This is particularly so for young women, 69.8 per cent of whom said they do not raise concerns, compared with half of young men.

Mid-life adults: 25-59 years

  • Overlapping responsibilities for care, unpaid domestic work, and paid work create time deprivation, particularly for women, at this stage of life.
  • Both men and women are time-deprived in mid-life, but women carry the greatest burden for unpaid domestic and care work, regardless of whether they are in paid employment or not.
  • Women aged 25 to 59 years were more likely to be working more total hours across paid and unpaid activities, at 12.25 mean hours per day, compared to their younger and older counterparts, at 11.43 and 11.21 mean hours per day respectively.
  • Women in mid-life are more likely than any other age group to report being worried about running out of food. They are also more likely to restrict their own diets due to lack of money.
  • Lack of access to sanitary products was more acute for mid-life women than the younger age group.

Older adults:  60+ years of age

  • In general, people over 60 are a particularly vulnerable group in society. Weak social support can lead to isolation, which can compound poverty for older people.
  • In this district in Indonesia, older respondents were least likely to attend community events, with 20.5 per cent reporting that they had attended no community events in the past 12 months.
  • Older women were more socially isolated than men and were also more likely to have inadequate clothing.
  • The IDM relationships dimension also assesses levels of dependency and the ability to reciprocate. A larger percentage of older people, 8.2 per cent, reported being unable to return a favour, compared with 2.7 per cent of young people and 1.8 per cent of people in mid-life.
  • 7 per cent of older women said they did not always have lighting sources, compared to 5.3 per cent of mid-life women and 5.1 per cent of younger women. This deprivation has significant implications for safety and well-being.

These initial research findings show that poverty is different for different groups of people and that therefore, different policy responses may be needed to tackle it.

For more on this research after June 30 2020, please visit the Individual Measurement of Multidimensional Poverty website.