Individual level measurement: looking inside the household matters

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Leading experts estimate that around one third of all inequality exists within households, and two-thirds between households. As a global community, we don’t currently measure the different experiences of individuals within households, this limits our understanding of deprivation and the policies and programs that will most effectively address poverty.

By not collecting poverty data below household level it means that we don’t understand deprivation as well as we could. We don’t take the views of poor women and men into account, and we can’t tell how gender, age, disability and ethnicity affect the poverty of an individual. Our data is limited, and it impacts the ability of policy makers, NGOs and the global community to direct programs and policies where they will be most effective.

The IDM measures the poverty of individuals inside households, revealing differences by gender, age and disability within and between households. Aside from revealing differences within the household, individual level measurement enables accurate disaggregation of data, and the identification of which social groups are especially deprived, and in which ways.

Look inside the household below, to see the difference between individual members of a household in Fiji. This family is based on data collected by the IDM team in Fiji.

With a large enough sample, it is possible to analyse the impact of overlapping factors, such as sex and disability.

Measuring deprivation at the individual level provides a more accurate picture of poverty and inequality, and makes it possible to identify who will benefit most from what kinds of policies and programs. This can inform a more targeted, effective and efficient use of resources.

Individual level, gender-sensitive measurement of multidimensional deprivation is critical to tracking overall progress towards the SDGs and to understanding how this progress translates into outcomes for individuals. It’s also vital for guiding investment to achieve the 2030 agenda, in ways that leave no one behind.

The IDM collects data relevant to assessing progress on 11 of the 17 sustainable development goals. Including SDGs 6, 7 and 15.