AbstractA description of the poverty analysis of the 1997/8 Malawi Integrated Household Survey is presented. Basic needs poverty lines were developed and used with consumption-based measures of welfare to classify households and individuals as poor or non-poor. As the quality of the consumption data was not uniform across survey sample households, adjustments were made in the analysis to derive a more accurate assessment of the prevalence of poverty across the country. Poverty and inequality estimates for the population of Malawi are made. About 65 per cent of Malawi's population are unable to meet their basic needs. Poverty in Malawi is deep and pervasive. Within the context of the Malawi Poverty Reduction Strategy, the distribution of household welfare is examined more closely to guide government action to assist poor households in improving their own well-being.