On international household survey data availability for assessing pre-pandemic monetary and multidimensional poverty in developing countries

Sabina Alkire*, Matthew Robson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Data availability plays a crucial role in the fight against poverty. Yet, it lags behind the data available on most other economic phenomena. This paper catalogs and reviews existing data availability for low- and middle-income countries with a view to break the cycle of outdated poverty data and strengthen statistical systems–while drawing readers’ attention to existing information and experiences. Countries that generate and analyze frequent and accurate poverty data are identified to show what is possible and to better document what is already available. Results show that data for both monetary and multidimensional poverty dramatically increased since 1980. Sixty countries already produce annual updates to key statistics, and some have continuous household surveys with cost-cutting synergies. International agencies have explored short surveys for comparable data but the success and uptake of these have not followed expected patterns. Certain regions have agreed on harmonized variable definitions across countries, and new technologies reduce lags between data collection and analysis. These existing resources and experiences can inform much-needed efforts to expand data availability.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-295
Number of pages19
JournalDevelopment Studies Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful for comments or insightful suggestions from Tony Atkinson, K. Beegal, Gero Carletto, Enrico Giovannini, Attila Hancioglu, Sunita Kishor, Claire Melamed, Jeff Sachs, Emma Samman, Umar Serajuddin and Hiroki Uematsu; and to the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) for support. We are also deeply grateful to OPHI colleagues for stellar research assistance and reflective advice, in particular to Felix Stein, Gisela Robles, Usha Kanagaratnam, Joanne Tomkinson Mihika Chatterjee and Christian Oldiges for careful research assistance and to Adriana Conconi, Bouba Housseini, Suman Seth and MPPN colleagues for substantive inputs. For financial support from ESRC/DFID (ES/N01457X/1) we are very grateful.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


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