The consensual approach to measuring poverty is now used in wide variety of countries – high, middle and low income –  to examine multi-dimensional deprivation and to inform the policy-making process. These studies have adapted and improved the method in the process. Hover over the tabs above to see the list of countries and regional organisations in each region that have carried out research based on this method or adaptations of it. 
The consensual method is particularly useful in measuring progress towards meeting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal for reducing multi-dimensional poverty. This requires all countries by 2030 ‘to reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions’. See Development goals for more details on how the consensual approach helps meet this aim, and where you will find information on how to implement it and how the international agencies are using this approach.
The consensual approach to measuring poverty is based on the concept of relative deprivation and seeks to find a public consensus on what are the necessities are life.  This approach  originated in the UK where it has been developed and test for over forty years (see PSE UK). It was subsequently taken up by the European Union, which in 2017 adopted a new 13-item index of material deprivation based on their research and in 2018 a new 17 item index for children. 
Under Reading (below), links to download the reports and papers contained within this section are gathered together. Under PSE UK, you will find the reports and papers relating to that project.

International reflections on poverty

In the films below you can hear the views of international experts from across the world, speaking at the Second Peter Townsend Memorial Conference,  on what is poverty, which groups are vulnerable to poverty and why poverty measurement matters for tackling poverty. In Definitions of poverty you can find more on how poverty can be defined.


All the reports and papers contained within this World section are listed below. You can download the pdf through these links.  For the context of these reports and papers go to the section under which the paper appears.

Development Goals

'The consensual approach to child poverty measurement' (pdf), Shailen Nandy and Gill Main, CROP briefing, 2015

'What works for Africa's poorest children: from measurement to action',  David Lawson, Diego Angemi, Ibrahim Kasirye (eds), Practical Action, 2020 (free to download).

'The Advantages of the Consensual Approach to poverty measurement' (pdf), Marco Pomati and Shailen Nandy, Social Indicators research, September 2019.

'Measuring poverty -the consensual approach', (ppt), Joanna Mack, Shailen Nandy and Alba Lanau, Tonga Statistcial Conference, April 2018 

'Foundations of the conensual approach', (ppt), Joanna Mack. University of the South Pacific, April 2018 

Development goals - Implementing the consensual approach

'Producing a poverty line in eight easy steps' (pdf), David Gordon, PSE:UK, 2015

Development goals - International agencies

The Importance of Reliability and Construct Validity in Multidimensional Poverty Measurement: An Illustration Using the Multidimensional Poverty Index for Latin America (MPI-LA)’ (pdf), Héctor E. Nájera Catalán & David Gordon, Journal of Development Studies, 2019,

Reply to Santos and Colleagues ‘The Importance of Reliability in the Multidimensional Poverty Index for Latin America (MPI-LA)’ (pdf), David Gordon & Héctor E. Nájera Catalán, Journal of Development Studies, 2019.

'Measuring Global Poverty' (pdf), the final report of the World Bank commmission on global poverty, World Bank, 2017


Measuring Multidimensional Poverty According to National Definitions: Operationalising Target 1.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals’ (pdf),  Marco Pomati and Shailen Nandy, Social Indicators Research, September 2019. French translation: 'Mesurer la pauvreté multidimensionnelle selon les définitions nationales : Mise en opérationde la cible 1.2 des objectifs de développement durable'.

Africa - Benin

'Applying the consenusal method of estimating poverty in a low income country' (pdf), Shailen Nandy and Marco Pomati, Social Indicators Research, 2015.

'L’approche consensuelle de mesure de la pauvreté : une application au cas du Bénin' (pdf), S. Nandy, M. Pomati and A. Lenoël1, STATECO N°110, 2016.
'Socially Perceived Necessities in South Africa: Comparing the Views of Sub-groups of the Population' (pdf), CASASP Working Paper 9, Gemma Wright, University of Oxford, 2011.
'Socially Pereceived Necessities in South Africa: Patterns of Possession' (pdf)CASASP  Working Paper 10, Gemma Wright, University of Oxford, 2011. 
'Measures of Child Poverty Key Report 2 - Children's views of an acceptable Living Standard for Children in South Africa(pdf),  Helen Barnes, Department of Social Development, Republic of South Africa, 2009.
'Measures of Child Poverty Key Report 3 - Child Poverty in South Africa - A Socially Percevied Necessities Approach'  (pdf) Helen Barnes, Department of Social Development, Republic of South Africa, 2009.
'Defining child poverty in South Africa using the socially percevied nexessities approach' (pdf), Helen Barnes and Gemma Wright, CASASP, University of Oxford, 2009.

Africa - Uganda



Americas- Mexico

'Multi-dimensional measurement from a relative deprivation approach - a comparison between the United Kingdom and Mexico' (pdf), Yedith Betzabé Guillén Fernández PhD thesis, Unversity of Bristol, 2017


Asia - Bangladesh

'Consensual poverty in Britain, Sweden and Bangladesh: a comparative study’ (pdf), A.I. Mahbub Uddin Ahmed, Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology, vol. 4, no. 2., 2007

Asia - Hong Kong

'Poverty and Social Exclusion in Hong Kong: First results from the 2013 Living Standards Survey' (pdf), David Gordon, ,Maggie Lau, , Christina Pantazis, Lea Lai, PSEHK, 2014

'Social Exclusion in Hong Kong - Findings from the 2013 Living Standards Survey', Maggie Lau, David Gordon, Christina Pantazis,Eunju Kim, Lea Lai, Eileen Sutton, PSEHK, 2014.

'PSEHK annotated questionnaire with top level findings,English language version' (pdf), PSEHK, 2012 

Asia - Hong Kong phase 2

'Housing affordability effects on physical and mental health: household survey in a population with the world’s greatest housing affordability stress' (pdf), Chung RY- N, Chung GK- K,  Gordon D, et al. (J Epidemiol Community Health, November 2019).

'What are the financial barriers to medical care among the poor, the sick and disabled in the Special Adminstrative Region of China' (pdf), Samuel Yeung-shan Wong  , Roger Yat-nork Chung, Dicken Chan, Gary Ka-ki Chung, Jerry Li, Dominic Mak, Maggie Lau, Vera Tang, David Gordon, Hung Wong, November 2018, Plos One.

'Children's and Adults perceptions of necessites of child necessities in Hong Kong' (pdf), Lau et al, 2019 (SPA accepted for publication). 

Asia - Japan

'Social exclusion and earlier disadvantages: an empirical study of poverty and social exclusion in Japan' (pdf), Abe Aya, Social Science Japan Journal , Vol 13, No 1, 2010


Europe - European Union

'What can be learned from deprivation indicators in Europe' (pdf), Eurostat working paper, 2009

'Poverty and Social Exclusion' (pdf), a special Eurobarometer report, Eursomean Commission, 2007

Europe - European Union 2017

'Revising the EU material deprivation variables' (pdf), Anne-Catherine Guio, David Gordon, Hector Najera, and Marco Pomati, Eurostat, 2017.

Europe - European Union 2018

'Towards an EU measure of child deprivation'(pdf), Anne-Catherine Guio, David Gordon, Eric Marlier, Hector Najera and Marco Pomati, Child Indicators Research, 2017

Europe - Ireland

Multiple deprivation and multiple disadvantage in Ireland: an analysis of EU-SILC’ (pdf), C.T. Whelan, B. Maȋtre, B. Nolan,  Economic and Social Research Institute, Dublin, 2007

 ‘The Irish experience of national poverty targets’ (pdf), Host country report to EU, Social Inclusion Division, Department of Social Protection, June 2011

Europe - Sweden

'A new approach to the direct consensual measurement of poverty' (pdf), Halleröd, Social Policy Research Centre Discussion Paper No. 50., 1994


'The Advantages of the Consensual Approach to poverty measurement' (pdf), Viliami Fifita, Shailen Nandy and Dave Gordon, presented to the Pacific Statistical Steering group in November 2015..

'Improving the Measurement of Poverty in the Pacific: The Case for a HIES Poverty Module' (pdf), presentation by Viliami Fifita to SPC, Noumea, New Caledonia, November 2014.  

Oceania - Solomon Islands

Multidimensional Poverty in the Solomon Islands According to National Definitions’ (pdf), Briefing Paper to PSSC-SPC, V. Konifelenisi Fifita, H. Najera, D. Gordon, S. Nandy, February 2017.

Oceania - Tonga

'Assessing progress towards the eradication of poverty in the Kingdom of Tonga' (pdf), Viliami Fifita, Alba Sánchez, Héctor Catalán and Daivd Gordon, Statistics Department Tonga, 2018

'Public perceptions of Child and Adult Poverty in Tonga', Dr Mo‘ale ‘Otunuku, Dr Teukava Finau, University of the South Pacific, 2019.

'Poverty Module Manual for fieldworkers for the 2016 Household Expenditure and Income survey' (pdf) Statistics Department, Kingdom of Tonga.

'Child Poverty in Tonga' (pdf), Viliami Fifita, Shailen Nandy and David Gordon, University of Bristol, 2015

Oceania - Tonga area analysis

 'Small area Multi-dimensional Poverty Estimates for Tonga 2016: Drawn from a Hierarchical Bayesian Estimator' (pdf), Héctor Catalán, Viliami Fifita and Winston Faingaanuku, Applied Spatial Analysis and Policy, July 2019.

Back to top

Tweet this page