Analysis of Multidimensional Poverty in Iranian Rural Communities

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Economics & Agricultural Development, University of Tehran, Iran.

2 PhD Student, Department of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Economics & Agricultural Development, University of Tehran, Iran.

3 MSc., Department of Agricultural Management and Development, Faculty of Economics & Agricultural Development, University of Tehran, Iran.


Poverty is still one of the main challenges facing humankind with a more rural nature in developing countries. The importance of addressing the issue of poverty and deprivation is to the extent that the United Nations considers its reduction as the first goal of Sustainable Development Goals. The approach of researchers and politicians to poverty has now shifted from one-dimensional to multi-dimensional. This means that poverty is no longer seen as a purely economic issue, instead, various dimensions including education, health, and welfare are now considered for poverty. Accordingly, recognition of poverty and coping with it requires a holistic and systematic understanding of it. The current study has attempted to go beyond the household level and study poverty (at county, province and country levels) by utilizing the concept of MPI while localizing its various indices with the aim of assisting policy-making and planning to reduce poverty. In this regard, the 2016 census data of 20000 rural households were used. According to the findings of this study, the multidimensional poverty index (MPI) of Iran is 0.349. Education, health, and living standards (welfare) had the highest contribution in MPI, respectively. The intensity and incidence of poverty among rural households are 0.558 and 0.628, respectively. Poverty in Iran is affected not only by economic and social factors but also by spatial and climatic factors. Consequently, given the extent and complexity of the relationships among the factors affecting and being affected by poverty, any planning and policymaking to alleviate poverty requires an intelligent holistic and systematic approach to poverty.


Abeje, M. T., Tsunekawa, A., Haregeweyn, N., Ayalew, Z., Nigussie, Z., Berihun, D., et al. (2020). Multidimensional Poverty and Inequality: Insights from the Upper Blue Nile Basin, Ethiopia. [Article]. Social Indicators Research. doi:10.1007/s11205-019-02257-y
Afrakhteh, H., Jalalian, H., Tahmasebi, A., & Maryam, A. (2019). [Evaluation of multidimensional poverty (capability) in rural areas of Hamadan County by using Alkire and Foster method (Persian)]. Human Geography Research, 51(4), 989-1010. doi:10.22059/jhgr.2018.237545.1007497
Alkire, S., Jahan, S., Kivilo, M. (2018). The new global MPI 2018: aligning with the sustainable development goals. OPHI, pp. 1-19.
Alkire, S., Chatterjee, M., Conconi, A., Seth, S., & Vaz, A. (2014). Global multidimensional poverty index 2014.
Alkire, S., & Foster, J. (2011). Counting and multidimensional poverty measurement. Journal of Public Economics, 95(7), 476-487. doi:
Alkire, S., & Santos, M. E. (2010). Acute multidimensional poverty: A new index for developing countries. United Nations development programme human development report office background paper(2010/11)
Altamirano Montoya, Á. J., & Teixeira, K. M. D. (2017). Multidimensional Poverty in Nicaragua: Are Female-Headed Households Better Off? Social Indicators Research, 132(3), 1037-1063. doi:10.1007/s11205-016-1345-y
Angelsen, A., & Dokken, T. (2018). Climate exposure, vulnerability and environmental reliance: A cross-section analysis of structural and stochastic poverty. Environment and Development Economics, 23(3), 257-278
Arshadi, A., & Karimi, A. (2013). [The study of poverty in rural and urban areas in iran during five-year development plan (Persian)]. Journal of the marco and strategic policies, 1(1), 23-42
Azzarri, C., & Signorelli, S. (2020). Climate and poverty in Africa South of the Sahara. World Development, 125, 104691
Barua, A., Katyaini, S., Mili, B., & Gooch, P. (2014). Climate change and poverty: building resilience of rural mountain communities in South Sikkim, Eastern Himalaya, India. Regional Environmental Change, 14(1), 267-280
Bossert, W., Chakravarty, S. R., & D'Ambrosio, C. (2013). Multidimensional Poverty and Material Deprivation with Discrete Data. Review of Income and Wealth, 59(1), 29-43. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4991.2012.00519.x
Elmi, Z., & Alitabar, F. (2012). [The Effect of Education and Household Size on Poverty in Urban Areas of Iran (2005 and 2009) (Persian)]. Social Welfare Quarterly, 12(46), 93-159
Ferreira, F. H. G., & Lugo, M. A. (2013). Multidimensional poverty analysis: Looking for a middle ground. The World Bank Research Observer, 28(2), 220-235
Hallegatte, S., Bangalore, M., Bonzanigo, L., Fay, M., Kane, T., Narloch, U., et al. (2015). Shock waves: managing the impacts of climate change on poverty: The World Bank.
Hertel, T. W., & Rosch, S. D. (2010). Climate change, agriculture and poverty: The World Bank.
Khalaj, S., & Yousefi, A. (2015). [Mapping the Incidence and Intensity of Multidimensional Poverty in Iran Urban and Rural Areas (Persian)]. The Journal of Spatial Planning, 18(4), 49-70
Klärner, A., & Knabe, A. (2019). Social Networks and Coping with Poverty in Rural Areas. Sociologia Ruralis, 59(3), 447-473. doi:10.1111/soru.12250
Laborde Debucquet, D., & Martin, W. (2018). Implications of the global growth slowdown for rural poverty. Agricultural Economics, 49(3), 325-338. doi:10.1111/agec.12419
Lasso de la Vega, C., Urrutia, A., & Diez, H. (2009). The Bourguignon and Chakravarty multidimensional poverty family: A characterization: ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
Liu, Y., & Xu, Y. (2016). A geographic identification of multidimensional poverty in rural China under the framework of sustainable livelihoods analysis. Applied Geography, 73, 62-76. doi:
Padda, I. U. H., & Hameed, A. (2018). Estimating multidimensional poverty levels in rural Pakistan: A contribution to sustainable development policies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 197, 435-442. doi:
Perry, B. (2002). The mismatch between income measures and direct outcome measures of poverty. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 101-127
Raghfar, H., & Esfandiarpour, M. (2015). Multidimensional Poverty Measurement in Iran: 2009-2013 (Alkire-Foster Approach). Economic Strategy, 4(13).
Rodríguez-Pose, A., & Hardy, D. (2015). Addressing poverty and inequality in the rural economy from a global perspective. Applied Geography, 61, 11-23
Ruggeri Laderchi, C., Saith, R., & Stewart, F. (2003). Does it matter that we do not agree on the definition of poverty? A comparison of four approaches. [Article]. Oxford Development Studies, 31(3), 243-274. doi:10.1080/1360081032000111698
Salazar, R. C. A., Díaz, B. Y., & Pinzón, R. P. (2013). A counting Multidimensional Poverty Index in public policy context : the case of Colombia. Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
Saunders, P., Wong, H., & Wong, W. P. (2014). Deprivation and Poverty in Hong Kong. Social Policy & Administration, 48(5), 556-575. doi:10.1111/spol.12042
Shahabadi, A., & Mehry Telyabi, F. (2017). The Effect of Research and Development (Domestic and Spillovers) and Human Capital of Agriculture Sector on Poverty in Rural Areas in Iran. Journal of Regional Planning, 7(25), 1-13
Shirvanian, A., & Bakhshoodeh, M. (2012). Investigating poverty in rural Iran: The multidimensional poverty approach. Agricultural Sciences, Vol.03No.05, 11. doi:10.4236/as.2012.35077
United, N. (2015). Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. General Assembley 70 session
Whelan, C. T., & Maître, B. (2010). Protecting the vulnerable: Poverty and social exclusion in Ireland as the economic crisis emerged. The Economic and Social Review, 41(4), 501-525
Yasoori, M., & Emami, S. F. (2018). [The Assessment of Poverty in Rural Areas (Case Study: District of Saravan City of Rasht) (Persian)]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 18(48 ), 95-114
Yousefi, A., Mahdian, S., & Khalaj, S. (2015). Determinants of Multidimensional Poverty in Iran Rural Areas. Journal of Rural Research, 6(4), 699-721. doi:10.22059/jrur.2015.57106
Zhou, X., Chen, J., Li, Z., Wang, G., & Zhang, F. (2017). Impact assessment of climate change on poverty reduction: A global perspective. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth, Parts A/B/C, 101, 214-223