Chart of the week #33: Multidimensional poverty in Tanzania

Those clever folks at Oxford University, specifically the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI), have put together a dataset on multi-dimensional poverty. It covers not just 110 developing countries, but also a total of 803 sub-national regions within countries. Their measure doesn’t look at wealth or income, but instead at ten indicators covering health, education and living standards. According to their website, this

“complements traditional income-based poverty measures by capturing the severe deprivations that each person faces at the same time with respect to education, health and living standards. The MPI assesses poverty at the individual level. If someone is deprived in a third or more of ten (weighted) indicators, the global index identifies them as ‘MPI poor’, and the extent – or intensity – of their poverty is measured by the number of deprivations they are experiencing.

The indicators are years of schooling, school attendance, child mortality, nutrition, access to electricity, sanitation and water supply, the type of household flooring and fuel for cooking and household assets. There’s a full list at the bottom of the post, together with details of criteria for defining households as “deprived” under each measure.

First, let’s look at the various dimensions of poverty in Tanzania, first at the national level and then by zone. For the zone chart, you can choose which indicator you want to look at.

Some thoughts:

1. There’s a pretty clear pattern that people in some parts of the country are poorer than others. In particular, across all the measures, those in the central zone are the most deprived, while those in the Eastern and Northern Zones, and on Zanzibar, are better off. This is not surprising, as these less-poor zones include vibrant economic regions such as Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Arusha.

2. There’s also a clear pattern that, according to the definitions used here, deprivation in Tanzania in health and education is much lower than in living standards. More people lack access to electricity or water supply than health and education services. However, this says nothing about the quality of education services available. As we have seen before, the quality can be very low indeed – see here and here, for example.

Second, how does the intensity of poverty vary between different parts of the country?

For this chart, a household is classed as being in “severe poverty” if they are deprived in over 50% of the indicators (after weightings have been applied), as “poor” if they are deprived in over 33.3% of the indicators after weightings, and as “vulnerable” is they are deprived in between 20% and 33.3% of the indicators after weightings.


3. In this case, as before, poverty is deepest in the central zone – Dodoma, Singida and Tabora regions – where only a tiny fraction (3%) of the population are neither poor nor vulnerable to falling into poverty. The situation isn’t much better in the Western Zone or Lake Zone either. Once again, only in Eastern Zone and Zanzibar (and to some extent the Northern Zone as well) are the poverty numbers lower.

4. There also a clear difference between urban and rural Tanzania. Poverty and deprivation are much higher in rural areas than urban, according to this data.

So, finally, here is that full list of indicators and criteria:

criteria for deprivation

One thought on “Chart of the week #33: Multidimensional poverty in Tanzania

  1. Amos

    This is a very insightful study coming at the right time as the country is getting ready for this years elections. It would more interesting to actually analyze how many of the candidates have the pain points above as part of their agenda.

Comments are closed.