Social Indicators Research

, Volume 112, Issue 2, pp 391–416 | Cite as

The Multidimensionality of Child Poverty: Evidence from Afghanistan

  • Jean-Francois TraniEmail author
  • Mario Biggeri
  • Vincenzo Mauro


This paper examines multidimensional poverty among children in Afghanistan using the Alkire-Foster method. Several previous studies have underlined the need to separate children from their adult nexus when studying poverty and treat them according to their own specificities. From the capability approach, child poverty is understood to be the lack of freedom to do and to be what children themselves value and have reason to value. The case of Afghanistan is particularly relevant as years of conflict aggravated by several severe droughts, political insecurity, bad governance and ongoing violence have significantly increased poverty in the country. The paper discusses the relevant dimensions when analysing child poverty and uses data from a survey carried out by Handicap International which contains information on dimensions of children’s wellbeing that is typically missing in standard surveys. Ten dimension are considered in this paper: health, care and love, material deprivation, food security, social inclusion, education, freedom from economic and non-economic exploitation, shelter and environment, autonomy, and mobility. Our results show that younger children, those living in rural areas, girls and disabled children are the most deprived.


Multidimensional poverty measurement Capability approach Children 



The authors acknowledge the European Commission, UNOPS/UNDP UNMAS (Volunteer Trust Fund), Ambassade de France en Afghanistan, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Handicap International for funding the National Disability Survey in Afghanistan research project. They benefited hugely from the comments of the participants of the OPHI Workshop on Multidimensional Measures in Six Contexts (Oxford, 1–2 June 2009), IX ISQOLS Conference (Florence, 19–23 July 2009) and HDCA Annual Conference (Lima, 10–12 September 2009). In particular they are grateful for the comments of Sabina Alkire, Masood Awan, Conchita D’Ambrosio, James Foster, Rozana Himaz, Filomena Maggino, Jose Manuel Roche, Maria Emma Santos and Sarah Valenti. They are also grateful to Parul Bakhshi and Ellie Cole for useful comments on drafts of this paper. They also want to warmly thank the 5,130 families of Afghanistan who kindly received interviewers and answered their questions. They retain responsibility for the opinions expressed in the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jean-Francois Trani
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Mario Biggeri
    • 3
  • Vincenzo Mauro
    • 3
  1. 1.Brown School of Social WorkWashington University in St LouisSt LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, Leonard Cheshire Center for Inclusive Development and DisabilityUniversity College of LondonLondonUK
  3. 3.Department of EconomicsUniversity of FlorenceFlorenceItaly

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