Multidimensional Poverty in Mountainous Regions: Shan and Chin in Myanmar


Poverty is complex and multidimensional. People living in mountainous regions are vulnerable and more likely to experience multiple deprivation. However, few studies have addressed multidimensional poverty in mountainous regions. Using data from 4290 households of poverty and vulnerability assessment survey and the Alkire–Foster methodology, this paper estimate and decompose multidimensional poverty in the states of Shan and Chin in Myanmar. The multidimensional poverty is measured in five dimensions and a set of twelve indicators. Nearly half of the population in Shan and three-quarters in Chin were multidimensionally poor. The average intensity of poverty was 44% in Chin and 38% in Shan. The multidimensional poverty index was 0.33 in Chin and 0.19 in Shan. The level of multidimensional poverty in Chin was similar to that in of Sub-Saharan Africa. In Chin, 60% of the population was both multidimensionally poor and consumption poor, but in Shan, it was 20%. About 28% of the population in Shan and 15% in Chin were multidimensionally poor but not consumption poor. Deprivation in education accounts for one-third of the multidimensional poverty in Shan; while deprivation in health accounts for one-third of the multidimensional poverty in Chin. A higher proportion of multidimensionally poor had experienced shocks such as the death of a household member, agricultural loss, or death of livestock compared to the multidimensional non-poor. Multidimensional poverty was significantly higher for rural household, households with lower educational attainment, consumption poor and among those who lived in Chin. Poverty reduction programs require a holistic understanding of poverty and its different dimensions as well as the main contributing factors for effective planning and program implementation. Geographical targeting of poverty reduction program and larger investment in food, health, water, energy and education can reduce the extent of multidimensional poverty in Shan and Chin.

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Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Data source: UNDP (2011) and PVA (2013)


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The authors would like to offer their sincere thanks to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Authors also extend sincere thanks to Dr. Surendra Raj Joshi, for his helpful comments. This study was part of the “The Rural Livelihood and Climate Change Adaptation in the Himalayas (Himalica)” Programme of ICIMOD funded by the European Union (EU). The authors also gratefully acknowledge the support of core donors of ICIMOD: the Governments of Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Switzerland, and the UK. The field survey was conducted by the Myanmar Survey Research (MSR), Myanmar. We express our sincere thanks to the MSR team. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect that of ICIMOD and EU.

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Correspondence to Sanjay K Mohanty.

Appendix 1

Appendix 1

See Table 9.

Table 9 Percentage of population multidimensional poor (H), average intensity of poverty (A), and multidimensional poverty index (M0) in individual districts in Shan and Chin

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Mohanty, S.K., Rasul, G., Mahapatra, B. et al. Multidimensional Poverty in Mountainous Regions: Shan and Chin in Myanmar. Soc Indic Res 138, 23–44 (2018) doi:10.1007/s11205-017-1662-9

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  • Poverty assessment
  • Multidimensional poverty
  • Multidimensional poverty index
  • Shan
  • Chin
  • Myanmar
  • Mountain regions