Social Indicators Research

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 291–314 | Cite as

Income and Beyond: Multidimensional Poverty in Six Latin American Countries

  • Diego Battiston
  • Guillermo Cruces
  • Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva
  • Maria Ana Lugo
  • Maria Emma SantosEmail author


This paper studies multidimensional poverty for Argentina, Brazil, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico and Uruguay for the period 1992–2006. The approach overcomes the limitations of the two traditional methods of poverty analysis in Latin America (income-based and unmet basic needs) by combining income with five other dimensions: school attendance for children, education of the household head, sanitation, water and shelter. The results allow a fuller understanding of the evolution of poverty in the selected countries. Over the study period, El Salvador, Brazil, Mexico and Chile experienced significant reductions in multidimensional poverty. In contrast, in urban Uruguay there was a small reduction in multidimensional poverty, while in urban Argentina the estimates did not change significantly. El Salvador, Brazil and Mexico, and rural areas of Chile display significantly higher and more simultaneous deprivations than urban areas of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. In all countries, deprivation in access to proper sanitation and education of the household head are the highest contributors to overall multidimensional poverty.


Multidimensional poverty measurement Counting approach Latin America Unsatisfied basic needs Rural and urban areas 



This study was supported by the United Nations Development Programme Regional Bureau for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative, University of Oxford. Santos thanks ANPCyT-PICT 1888 for research support. The authors are thankful for comments provided by Andrés Ham, by participants of OPHI Seminars Series in Trinity Term 2009, and of the third Meeting of the Society for the Study of Economic Inequality (ECINEQ), Buenos Aires, 21–23 July, 2009. The authors are also grateful for suggestions from two anonymous referees and thank Felix Stein for research assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diego Battiston
    • 1
    • 2
  • Guillermo Cruces
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Luis Felipe Lopez-Calva
    • 5
  • Maria Ana Lugo
    • 6
    • 7
  • Maria Emma Santos
    • 3
    • 7
    • 8
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Economic Performance (CEP)London School of Economics (LSE)LondonUK
  2. 2.Centro de Estudios Distributivos Laborales y Sociales (CEDLAS) - Facultad de Ciencias Economicas (FCE)Universidad Nacional de La Plata (UNLP)La PlataArgentina
  3. 3.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Argentina
  4. 4.Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)BonnAlemania
  5. 5.Regional Bureau for Latin America and The CaribbeanUnited Nations Development Programme (UNDP)New YorkUSA
  6. 6.Economics DepartmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  7. 7.Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI), Queen Elizabeth House (QEH), Oxford Department of International DevelopmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK
  8. 8.Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas y Sociales del Sur (IIESS), Departamento de EconomíaUniversidad Nacional del Sur (UNS)Bahía BlancaArgentina

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