Poverty maps, spatial descriptions of the distribution of poverty in any given country, are most useful to policy makers and researchers when they represent small geographic units, such as cities, towns, or villages.
Unfortunately, almost all household surveys are too small to be representative at such levels of disaggregation, and most census data do not contain the required information to calculate poverty.
Researchers in the Development Research Group, Poverty and Inequality Team (DECRG-PI) have developed a methodology to estimate welfare indicators for small areas and have piloted it with success in many countries, including Brazil, China, Ecuador, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Morocco, Nicaragua and South Africa.
The team provides technical assistance, capacity building, and various free software tools to statistical institutes in developing countries upon demand, conditional upon availability of suitable data (a recent census and an LSMS-type household survey).
In addition, the team maintains a “how-to manual” for poverty mapping, a platform-independent software package entitled PovMap, and provides training courses aimed at staff from statistical institutes and researchers from developing countries. Training, along with user-friendly tools and technical assistance ensures that poverty maps are accessible for a wider range of countries.
Peter Lanjouw, Roy van de Weide, Qinghua Zhao
This 2007 volume promotes the effective use of Small Area Estimation poverty maps in policy making. It presents the range of policies and interventions which have been informed by poverty maps, focusing on the political economy of poverty maps and the key elements to their effective use by policy makers. The volume also looks at the future of poverty maps in terms of new techniques and new areas of application.