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Classification of Poverty Condition Using Natural Language Processing

Abstract

This work introduces a methodology to classify between poor and extremely poor people through Natural Language Processing. The approach serves as a baseline to understand and classify poverty through the people’s discourses using machine learning algorithms. Based on classical and modern word vector representations we propose two strategies for document level representations: (1) document-level features based on the concatenation of descriptive statistics and (2) Gaussian mixture models. Three classification methods are systematically evaluated: Support Vector Machines, Random Forest, and Extreme Gradient Boosting. The fourth best experiments yielded around 55% of accuracy, while the embeddings based on GloVe word vectors yielded a sensitivity of 79.6% which could be of great interest for the public policy makers to accurately find people who need to be prioritized in social programs.

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Notes

  1. Agua de panela is a very traditional beverage made out of sugarcane.

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Acknowledgements

This study was partially funded by CODI from the University of Antioquia, grant # PRG2020-34068

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Correspondence to Guberney Muñetón-Santa.

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Muñetón-Santa, G., Escobar-Grisales, D., López-Pabón, F.O. et al. Classification of Poverty Condition Using Natural Language Processing. Soc Indic Res (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-022-02883-z

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Keywords

  • Poverty
  • Natural language processing
  • Text classification
  • Word embedding
  • Document-level embedding
  • Machine learning