The Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is a new individual-level, gender-sensitive, measure of multidimensional poverty. It measures deprivation in relation to 15 key dimensions of life, making it possible to see who is poor, in what ways and to what extent. Each of the 15 dimensions is based on participatory research with over 3,000 people in six countries with lived experience of poverty.

The IDM is helping to overcome the current limitations of poverty data by getting below the household level to provide individual-level assessment of deprivation. Measuring poverty at the individual-level creates a more complete picture of global inequality – experts suggest 1/3 of all inequality exists within households but our understanding of this deprivation is limited due to a lack of data.

The IDM is gender sensitive, it can be sex-disaggregated across 15 dimensions of life including some especially important for revealing gender disparity such as voice in the community and time-use. It is also intersectional. By collecting data at the individual level on 15 dimensions, the IDM makes it possible to see how overlapping deprivations can deepen poverty.

Currently, the Australian National University (ANU) and the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA) are working in partnership, with strategic funding from the Australian Government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), to ready the measure for global use by 2020.

Priorities as a partner of the Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reflect a comprehensive, globally-agreed and universal agenda for people and planet, with 17 Goals, 169 targets, and 230 Indicators. Many of these indicators are population-level measures. The IDM is a complementary tool that supports achievement of the SDGs.

Individual-level, gender-sensitive, measurement of multidimensional deprivation is critical to tracking global progress towards the SDGs, and to understanding how this progress translates into outcomes for individuals. It is also vital for guiding investment to achieve the goals, in ways that leave no one behind.

The IDM collects data relevant to assessing progress on 11 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. In some cases, a number of different IDM indicators contribute data relevant to a single SDG indicator (for example, availability of essential services). The IDM can also provide disaggregated data for a range of SDG indicators, where this is not currently required. Being able to disaggregate data, including for sex and location, is key to understanding where to focus our efforts for attention and change.

53 of the 230 SDG indicators are gender-related. As of December 2017, 75% of these gender-related indicators have no established methodology/standards for data collection or limited data availability. The IDM can provide data relevant to 25% of the 53 gender-related indicators. Without individual-level data, we are missing crucial details of the specific needs of people living in – or at risk of – poverty. By closing the gender data gap and collecting information that helps us see what needs to change for diverse women and men, policymakers can target programs and expenditure where these are needed most, ensuring we deliver on the 2030 agenda.


This Partner Works to Achieve These SDGs