Living Standards in Africa

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This chapter substantiates two claims: that in contrast to other regions of the world, Africa is poor; and that poverty in Africa is not declining consistently or significantly. It considers poverty in the dimensions of health and education, in addition to income, stressing the inherent conceptual and measurement issues that commend such a broader perspective. It notes a lack of consistency in the movement of the poverty measures. During similar periods, these are moving in opposite directions. The chapter discusses the need to go beyond examining each poverty measure individually, and presents an approach to evaluating poverty reduction in multiple dimensions jointly. The results of the multi-dimensional poverty comparisons reinforce the importance of considering deprivation beyond the material standard of living and provide insight into how to reconcile differing stories that arise from examining each indicator separately.

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Debates on the Measurement of Global Poverty



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