Bhutan cuts multidimensional poverty by half but higher for children under nine
In the last five years, Bhutan cuts multidimensional poverty by half, however, the incidence of multidimensional poverty is higher for children under nine with 7.2 percent, followed by adults 50 years or older with 6.5 percent and individuals aged 36 to 49 years with 6.1 percent.
According to the Bhutan Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) 2017 report stated that the Bhutan’s MPI has the 13 indicators, a person who is deprived in 4/13 of the weighted indicators with 30.7 percent of dimensions is considered multidimensional poor.
Between 2012 and 2017, Bhutan’s MPI was dropped from 0.051 to 0.023. Currently, 5.8 percent of the Bhutanese populations are multidimensional poor, against 12.7 percent five years ago.
The Bhutan’s MPI 13 indicators include food security, low education and inadequate sanitation, distributed across three dimensions: health, education and standard of living.
Among the 13 MPI
indicators, the largest contributors to the national poverty in Bhutan are deprivation in years of education with 32 percent, followed by child mortality with 23 percent and school attendance with 13 percent, the report stated.
While the living standards and health dimensions contribute to 21 percent and 34 percent, respectively to overall poverty.
National Statistics Bureau (NSB), Director Chhime Tshering said that overall, the 2017 MPI paints a picture of lightning- fast progress, with MPI reducing by far more than half from 2007 to 2017 and by roughly half since 2012, with rural areas progressing rapidly.
The press release from the NSB stated that the MPI complements income measures, providing an in-depth picture of poverty, which helps government to develop and implement efficient public policies.
The report also shows the poverty level by the areas of rural and urban which shows that the rural poverty headcount ratio is much higher than that for urban areas with 8.1 percent and 1.2 percent respectively and more than 93 percent of the multidimensional poverty lives in rural areas. However, 6.9 percent of the country’s multidimensional poor people reside in urban areas.
In terms of dimensions, education is clearly the largest contributor to multidimensional poverty in urban areas with contribution of 51.8 percent. The dimensions of health and living standards contribute 44.2 percent and 3.9 respectively.
Meanwhile, to calculate the MPI, the author used data from the 2017 Bhutan Living Standard Survey. This could provide an up-to-date national headline.
MPI for the Dzongkhag wise, Gasa Dzongkhag has the highest level of MPI and incidence of poverty, and Samtse Dzongkhag houses the largest number of multidimensional poor with 13.7 percent followed by Chhukha with 12.5 percent, stated the report.
While, Thimphu Dzongkhag houses with eight percent of Bhutan’s poor people and Pemagatshel Dzongkhag has the lowest share of poor people in the country with 1.2 percent.
The report shows that about two thirds of Bhutan’s population lives in rural areas.
Minister for Health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk who launched the Bhutan MPI 2017 on 29 December, said that reducing MPI is the main objective of the government for the 11th Five Year Plan.
Lyonpo added that target 1.2 of the sustainable development goal calls all countries to cut out their national MPI rates by half between 2015 and 2030.
Director for Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) Dr. Sabina Alkire said Bhutan’s strides in fighting multidimensional poverty are inspiring. “By reducing MPI by much more than half from 2007 to 2017, Bhutan has shown that rapid change is possible. For those countries who are trying to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target of halving MPI by national definitions between 2015 and 2030, Bhutan’s example will be encouraging.”
Meanwhile, Bhutan MPI 2017 was prepared by NSB, with financially supported by the UNICEF country office in Bhutan and OPHI worked on the report while MPI is based on the data from the Bhutan Standard Living Survey 2017 conducted by the NSB.