Multidimensional Poverty Analysis for Children

A multidimensional poverty analysis for children under five years of age and for children age 5-17 years was carried out for Lao PDR using the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS) of 2012. The indicators used as proxies for capturing the level of poverty amongst children are contextualised for Lao PDR.

The published analysis is part of a larger project using both multidimensional deprivation- as monetary poverty measures to assess child wellbeing. It concentrates on the specific deprivations of infants and children in early childhood, such as in health and nutrition, and the inter-relation of these. In addition, the deprivation analysis examines the relation between the selected deprivation dimensions and stunting, as a child outcome that goes beyond one single dimension.

The analysis uses the Lao Social Indicator Survey (LSIS) as its main data source. The survey was designed to provide with information on the situation of children, women and men, and the data have been collected in 2011 and 2012. The data are representative at the national level, for urban areas and rural areas with and without road access, and 17 provinces including the Vientiane Capital.

Single and multiple deprivations are measured and discussed in this paper for two age groups separately: 0 – 23 months old and 24 – 59 months old. The MODA results for the older age group are discussed in a separate paper (de Neubourg & Karpati, 2015).

The main results of the analysis are:

  • deprivations among young children of both age groups are very high especially in the dimensions health, nutrition, sanitation and water; young children are also subject to the experience of high levels of domestic violence;
  • there are large differences in the levels of deprivation in health, nutrition, sanitation and housing between urban and rural areas with remote rural areas showing the worst results;
  • it is remarkable that no such differences are observed in the dimensions nutrition and protection from violence pointing to the very troublesome situation in the entirety of the country;
  • almost no children (less then 10 per cent) do not suffer from any deprivation at all; the vast majority of the children are victims to deprivations in 3 and 4 dimensions simultaneously;
  • children suffering from zero or one deprivation are almost exclusively found in urban areas; in rural areas children are often suffering from 3, 4 or 5 deprivations at the same time;
  • using a multidimensional deprivation it is shown that the deprived children are regionally concentrated in the North (Oudomxay, Phongsaly, Houaphan), in the Central (Savannakhet) and in the South of the country (Saravan, Sekong, Attapeu); the deprivation levels are the most modest in Vientiane Capital;
  • a solution of the deprivation problems of the young children should give priority to policy intervention in nutrition, health, water and sanitation;
  • stunting among young children is unacceptably high even for a low income country; it points to attitudinal- and information problems on healthy diet practices for young children, but also to the very limited access of children to safe water, adequate sanitation and affordable health care services.
  • there is a very high level of similarity between the levels of stunting and the level of multidimensional deprivation among young children pointing to the fact that many children’s needs are not adequately addressed in big parts of the country especially located in the North and the South and concentrated in remote rural areas.

The study is led by National Economic Research Institute, Ministry of Planning and Investment,  in partnership with UNICEF Lao PDR. Local partners including NERI, key line ministries (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Sport, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Secretariat of National Commission for Mother and Children, and Lao Statistics Bureau) also supported the project and received training on child poverty analysis.

Project outputs included:

  • Final report for children under age five (disseminated August 2015)
  • Final report for children age 5-17 years
  • Capacity building and training
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