Measuring poverty in the Pacific is important to keep poor people on the policy agenda, to design effective policies and programs and to carry out rigorous evaluation so that we know what works and why. There are various definitions of poverty, ranging from a narrow focus on adequate calorie consumption through to broader concepts of capabilities. This paper takes a practical look at how to measure one conventional indicator of poverty: income (or consumption) poverty. In doing so, the paper highlights both the limitations of household datasets in the Pacific as well as opportunities to make better use of data for poverty analysis. Good progress is being made in improving the quality of household surveys, so the challenge now is to analyse these more fully to inform policies, program design and evaluation.
Matthew Morris is the Deputy Director of the Development Policy Centre. Matthew has a background in aid and developing country economic policy making. He worked for 15 years in the PNG Tre