Determinants of Multidimensional Poverty in Iran Rural Areas

Document Type : Research Paper


1 - PhD of Agricultural Economics, Assistant professor, Department of Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran

2 MSc Graduate of Rural Development, Department of Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, Isfahan University of Technology


Introduction: Poverty is an introduction to the many of social abnormalities and the main threat for each society. The success of poverty alleviation programs depends on identifying the poverty and its indicators behind the policymaking and implementation conditions. The unidimensional income-based approach in poverty analysis is one of the main failure causes of many national and international poverty reduction programs. In an alternative approach, instead of focusing only on the income measurement of wellbeing and poverty, the human capabilities such as illiteracy, malnutrition, child mortality, and so on is taken into consideration. Therefore, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), since 2010 presented a new multidimensional poverty index (MPI) based on the capability approach and Alkire and Foster (AF) method. This index consists of three dimensions including education, health and living standards, which is measured by 10 indicators. Due to the importance of accurate assessment of rural poverty for the success of anti-poverty programs, the aim of this study is to evaluate the multidimensional poverty in the rural areas based on the capability approach, and understanding its determinants. The results can help policy makers in providing a more comprehensive and precise image of rural poverty conditions and the strategies will contribute to combat this phenomenon.
Methodology: This descriptive and analytical study was based on the 20% of 2006 Iranian Population and Housing Census’s raw data. The settled private household was the sampling unit and the stratified random sampling method was used in urban and rural areas of each county. The household was chosen as a unit of rural poverty analysis and MPI was measured in three dimensions involving education, health and standard of living by using AF method. Indicators were selected based on the UNDP’s MPI, Millennium Development Goals (MDG), items in Iran census questionnaire and literature review. The main determinant of poverty was evaluated by using a logic regression in the three categories of regional situation, demographic and household attributes as well as economic characteristics.
Findings: The results show that the incidence and intensity of poverty and MPI in Iran rural areas is respectively 21.4%, 31.5% and 0.07. The most deprivation was in assets indicator with 23.10% (households do not own at least one of: telephone, computer motorbike or car) and the main construction materials of the housing unit of more than 21% of rural households is sun-dried brick. Despite the fact that 20% of rural households have no member with completed 5 years of schooling, but only 5.4% households have school-aged child which is out of school in years 1 to 8. The status of rural households in terms of access to electricity, toilet and cooking fuel is relatively favorable. Furthermore, Sistan and Balouchestan and Mazandaran provinces respectively have the highest and lowest MPI in Iran rural areas. Studying the influential factors on the households poverty shows that: literacy, gender, education level, marital status, occupation and age of household head; source of drinking water supply and type of sewage disposal in the housing unit; number of children, number of literate members in household, geographical location and nationality of rural households have a significant effect on the poverty of rural households. The probability of being poor in the households with illiterate head in comparison to high school and college degrees respectively 81.1% and 87.7% is more .Poverty is more prevalent in the households with heads working in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing jobs. Moreover, ownership of residential units has no effect on the households’ poverty. Poverty is more widespread in the female-headed households compared to male-headed with about 56%. Furthermore, households with one or more disabled members are more likely to be living in poverty.

Conclusion: The incidence and intensity of multidimensional poverty is higher in the southeastern provinces with Sistan and Baluchestan as the poorest one. It is necessary to pay special attention to poverty alleviation policy targeting in national development plans and regional programs for approaching to sustainable rural development in these regions. According to the results, education has an important role in combating poverty and it is inevitable to promoting the education level of household head and facilitating access of school-aged children to education in poor and at risk of poverty households. Moreover, focusing on improving the source of drinking water and access to public water supply and sewage disposal networks is of particular importance in the deprived provinces. With respect to the more severe poverty in the southeastern provinces, assessing the relationship between multidimensional poverty and climate and geopolitical conditions of these regions can lead to identifying the other determinants of poverty.


Main Subjects

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