Living standard index provides a new tool to assist relief efforts
Data from unconventional sources, such as figures on living standards, provide a new way to evaluate poverty across China, according to a report on Monday by the United Nations Development Program China.
The report’s release marked the International Day for Eradication of Poverty and China’s thirdNational Poverty Day.
The Living Standard Index, developed by UNDP using data from Baidu, measured poverty by combining eight indicators to evaluate services provided in 2,284 counties in China. The evaluation looked at access to piped water, sanitary toilets, indoor kitchens, living services, financial services and roads, as well as mobile internet coverage and nighttime light intensity.
“The definition and measurement of poverty must reflect its complex, multifaceted nature beyond only income- and consumptionbased measures,” said Patrick Haverman, deputy country director of the UNDP.
The new index complements the poverty markers already in use, providing insights into the availability of these public services and allowing for more efficient and targeted poverty relief efforts, the report said.
It also said the selected indicators cover important measurements of social wellbeing and provide accessible, dynamic and costefficient data for analysis.
On a scale of 0 to 100, the index ranks Zhejiang province first, with a score of 75.1, and Jiangsu province second, with 73.7, followed by Beijing, with 71.8, and Shanghai, 71.7. The country average was 61.3.
According to the report, although the most economically developed provinces performed best for living standards, this did not mean they have equitable development across the different aspects of evaluating living standards.
Ningxia, which ranked 11th, was the only autonomous region to exceed the country average, while Chongqing was the only municipality to fall below the average, due to a subpar mobile coverage rate and nighttime light intensity.