Colombia is a pioneering country in the use of multidimensional poverty measurement for poverty reduction. In 2011, the Government of Colombia adopted a new poverty-reduction strategy, which sets firm and binding targets and outputs based on budget constraints and priorities. Colombian President, Juan Manuel Santos, announced a National Development Plan with poverty reduction as the centrepiece. The government plans to
reduce multidimensional poverty by 13 percentage points by the end of 2014 – from 35 per cent of the entire population in 2008 to 22 per cent in 2014. Devised by Colombia’s Ministry of Planning, it is the first National Development Plan to use the Alkire Foster (AF) method for measuring multidimensional poverty through the Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI-Colombia).
Unit of analysis
The MPI-Colombia uses the household as unit of analysis. Household members are considered to be deprived or not according to the achievements of all household members simultaneously (e.g. a person is considered to be deprived if any of his or her fellow household members are deprived in literacy). This respects the family as the fundamental social unit in Colombia. Three criteria based on the Colombian context were used to select this unit of analysis: First, a normative criterion draws on the Colombian Constitution, which claims that the guarantee of living conditions and rights is the joint responsibility of the family, society and the State.
Second, an empirical criterion draws on academic evidence relating to Colombia which shows that households historically respond to adverse situations collectively.
The final criterion relates to the social policy context of the country. This criterion draws on existing policies, programmes and instruments in the country, all of which use the household as the unit of analysis and intervention.
Dimensions and indicators
Building on the flexibility inherent in the AF method, the MPI-Colombia assesses broader aspects of poverty in five
dimensions using 15 indicators.