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Multidimensional Poverty in Kenya: Analysis of Maternal and Child Wellbeing

By Jane Kabubo-Mariara, Anthony Wambugu and Susan Musau


This paper generates multidimensional poverty profiles for women and children over a ten-year period from 1993 to 2003.Data from the national Demographic and Health Survey are used to improve measurement of poverty in Kenya in four ways: First, the paper constructs a composite wealth index (CWI). Second, it applies the Alkire and Foster (2007) approach to the measurement of multidimensional poverty based on the CWI and health status. Third, stochastic dominance approaches are used to make poverty orderings across groups. Fourth, the probability of being poor in assets, health or both is explored using a bivariate probit model. The results show that the distribution of poor women and children differs across groups, space and time. We also find that the CWI and residence in a rural area respectively contribute more to multidimensional poverty than health and residence in an urban area. The results further suggest that understanding the correlates of wellbeing in a multidimensional context can generate policy insights for improving human capital investments.Multidimensional poverty, composite wealth indicator, child health, stochastic dominance, Kenya

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