Social Indicators Research

, Volume 127, Issue 1, pp 1–38 | Cite as

The Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index: Measuring Poverty in a Public Policy Context

  • Roberto Angulo
  • Yadira DíazEmail author
  • Renata Pardo


Previous multidimensional indices for the Colombian context, such as the Unmet Basic Needs Index or the Living Conditions Index, have lost their public policy relevance and arguably have become poor instruments for poverty measurement. This paper presents the Colombian Multidimensional Poverty Index (CMPI), a synthetic indicator that overcomes the methodological problems from previous multidimensional indices and has a broad public policy scope of use. The CMPI is based on the methodology of Alkire and Foster (J Public Econ 95:476–478, 2011a) and is composed of five dimensions (education of household members, childhood and youth conditions, health, employment and access to household utilities and living conditions). Additionally, it uses a nested weighting structure, where each dimension is equally weighted, as is each indicator within each dimension. This paper proposes the CMPI for tracking multiple deprivations across the national territory, to monitor public policies by sector and to design poverty reduction goals, among other public policy uses. Analysis of the results demonstrates that multidimensional poverty in Colombia decreased between 1997 and 2010 in both urban and rural areas, but imbalances remain.


Multidimensional poverty Colombia Alkire and Foster measures Deprivation Urban and rural differences 



This work was undertaken while the authors were working for the National Planning Department of Colombia (NPD); the project is an initiative of the National Planning Department, and it was funded in full by the NPD. We would like to thank Esteban Piedrahíta and Juan Mauricio Ramírez for taking the initiative to design a CMPI. We also thank James Foster (George Washington University) and Sabina Alkire, José Manuel Roche and Diego Zavaleta, from the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) for their encouragement and critical comments during the design and development of the indicator. We thank Jorge Ivan González, Jairo Nuñez, Hugo López, Raquel Bernal, Ximena Peña and Alfredo Sarmiento for their clever and thoughtful comments, and we thank Yolanda Riveros for her careful work as a research assistant. Also, thanks to the Social Development and Urban Development Divisions at the National Planning Department for the advice on choosing indicators consistent with the priorities of public policy. Finally, we would like to thank Hernando José Gómez and José Fernando Arias for promoting the use of the CMPI in the design and orientation of public policy in Colombia. This version of the paper has benefited from the insights and suggestions of the anonymous referee and Maria Iacovou (University of Cambridge).

Conflict of interest

We (Roberto Angulo, Yadira Díaz and Renata Pardo) declare that we do not have any conflict of interest for the publication of this original research article.

Compliance with ethical standards

We, Roberto Angulo, Yadira Díaz and Renata Pardo, authors of the article ‘The Colombian multidimensional poverty index: measuring poverty in a public policy context”, certify that we comply in full the ethical responsibilities of authors of the journal Social Indicators Research outlined in the journal’s website ( accessed on the 23rd of February of 2015. For this purpose, we follow acknowledging the funding upon this work was developed, and disclosing no potential conflicts of interest for the publication of this manuscript as an original research article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BogotáColombia
  2. 2.Institute of Social and Economic Research (ISER)University of EssexColchesterUK
  3. 3.Universidad de los AndesBogotáColombia

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