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PovcalNet: an online poverty analysis tool - P4H Network

PovcalNet: an online poverty analysis tool

Short description
This is an interactive computational tool that allows users to replicate the calculations made by the WB in estimating the extent of absolute poverty in the world. It allows calculating the poverty measures under different assumptions and to assemble the estimates using alternative country groupings or for any set of individual countries of the user’s choosing.

The purpose of this tool is to allow users to calculate the poverty rates choosing their own poverty line in PovcalNet and to test the sensitivity of poverty measures.

Methodology and type of data required

  1. Data sources: The data sources are the nationally representative household surveys.
  2. Price indices: The best available CPI (country price index) for the country with documentation is used. A spatial price index (SPI) has only been used when the base is national average and consistent over time with documentation.
  3. Micro data vs grouped data: Primary distributions are calculated from household level data directly. Few of them are from the country’s statistical office.
  4. The data base in PovcalNet is primarily a set of grouped tabulations in a harmonized data structure. Parametric Lorenz Curves are used for the estimation purposes when they are expected to provide close estimates to the micro data. However, when the parametric models are unlikely to work well (notably when using incomes with a bunching up at zero) PovcalNet estimates directly from the micro data.
  5. The same PPPs are used to convert the international lines to local currency units (LCUs). Three countries were treated differently, China, India and Indonesia. In all three we used separate urban and rural distributions.
  6. The regional and global population for low and middle income countries may differ from the current WDI, because PovcalNet uses the classification of low and middle income countries at 1990, while current WDI excludes the countries that graduated since then. When the user adds up the populations of the countries in a region in PovcalNet, the sum is less than the regional total since the regional total in PovcalNet also includes countries without a household survey or missing the PPP or other data.
  7. The per capita income/consumption used in PovcalNet is household income/consumption expenditure dividing by the household size.

Users/Target audience
Policy makers, decision makers

World Bank

Contact (Please refer to PovcalNet in the subject line of your email.)


poverty analysis tool