Recent UN Research indicates Substantial Inequalities between Ethnic Groups

According to a new study released on Thursday, disparities in so-called multidimensional poverty among ethnic groups are consistently substantial across numerous countries. 

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative’s global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) also discovered that more than 90% of the population in nine ethnic groupings surveyed is trapped under poverty. 

Inequalities between ethnic and racial groups are sometimes bigger than disparities between areas within a country. Furthermore, the ethnic disparities in the Index are larger than the disparities in all 109 nations and all other factors tested. 

Apart from money, the Index assesses poverty through a variety of variables such as poor health, a lack of education, and a low standard of living. 

The report’s research was carried out in 109 countries, encompassing 5.9 billion people, and includes ethnicity/race/caste disaggregation for 41 countries. 

Multidimensional poverty among different ethnic groups can vary greatly within a country. 

Indigenous peoples, for example, are among the poorest in Latin America. Indigenous communities make up around 44% of Bolivia’s population, yet they account for 75% of the country’s multidimensionally poor. 

According to the United Nations Development Programme, five out of every six people in this circumstance in India come from “lower tribes or castes”. 

In proposing solutions to this challenge, the authors use the example of Gambia’s two poorest ethnic groups, who have almost the same Index value but differ in deprivation, to demonstrate that different policy actions are required to discover successful remedies for different circumstances. 

According to the research, almost two-thirds of the world’s multidimensionally poor individuals, or 836 million people, live in households where neither woman nor girl has finished at least six years of schooling. 

Furthermore, nearly 215 million individuals, or one-sixth of all people in this scenario, live in households where at least one boy or man has completed six or more years of schooling but no girl or woman has. 

Intimate partner violence is also more common among these women and girls, according to the survey. 

A total of 1.3 billion people are multidimensionally poor across the 109 nations surveyed. 

Children under the age of 18 accounts for around half of them (644 million), and nearly 85% of them live in Sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. More than 67 percent of the world’s population lives in middle-income countries. 

Poverty on multiple levels can signify a lot of different things. 

For example, almost 1 billion people are in danger of health problems as a result of solid cooking fuels, another billion suffer from poor sanitation, and yet another billion live in unsuitable housing. 

Around 788 million people live in households with at least one undernourished person, and 568 million do not have access to better drinking water within a 30-minute walk. 

This serves as a reminder of the need for a complete picture of how people are affected by poverty, who they are, and where they reside. The international community is still grappling to understand the full implications of Covid-19 on the world’s poor. 

Even if multidimensional poverty remains high, certain countries have seen signs of development, at least until the outbreak of the pandemic. 

70 % of the 80 countries and five billion individuals for whom data is available over time have reduced their Multidimensional Poverty Index at least once. Sierra Leone and Togo had the most rapid shifts. 

Sabina Alkire, the director of OPHI at the University of Oxford, emphasized the importance of addressing systemic inequities that oppress and impede growth. 

Disaggregating multidimensional poverty data by ethnicity, race, caste, and gender, according to her, “unmasks gaps and serves as a key guide for policymakers to ensure that no one has been left behind in the last decade for action.” 

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