The Alkire Foster Method: tackling poverty

Over three billion people live in poverty, almost half the world population. Poverty represents huge costs both in developing and industrialised nations – in the UK, child poverty costs an estimated £29 billion a year.

Dr Sabina Alkire and Professor James Foster of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) have developed an innovative methodology for measuring poverty, known as the Alkire Foster (AF) method.

This new, highly flexible tool captures many different aspects of poverty such as poor health, lack of education and inadequate living standards. It provides an at-a-glance poverty 'rating', and can also be broken down to reveal not only who is poor – by gender, ethnicity or region – but also how they are poor; which aspects of poverty they are experiencing.

The 'multidimensional' AF method makes it possible to more effectively target policy interventions - potentially reducing poverty for millions of people. Mexico, Colombia and the Philippines have launched national multidimensional poverty measures based on the AF method. In addition, over 25 governments are participating in the Multidimensional Poverty Peer Network set up as a result of the research.