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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food and Nutrition Bulletin
Title Measuring Poverty for Food Security Analysis Consumption-Versus Asset-Based Approaches
Volume 37
Issue 3
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0379572116653509
Poverty and food insecurity are intrinsically linked as poor households often lack the resources required to access sufficient nutritious food to live an active and healthy life. Consumption and expenditure surveys are typically used to identify poor versus nonpoor households but are detailed and costly. Measures of wealth based on asset ownership and housing characteristics can be generated from lighter, less costly surveys.

To examine whether indices based on asset ownership and housing characteristics (stock) complement household consumption (flow) when used to analyze inequalities in food security outcomes.

Comprehensive data from Nepal, Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda, and Madagascar are used to examine correlations and overlaps in classification between indices of household wealth and consumption per capita. Inequality in food security indicators representing quantity, quality, and vulnerability is examined across wealth and consumption per capita quintiles.

Wealth indices are correlated with consumption per capita, with coefficients between 0.5 and 0.6. The prevalence of food insecurity decreases from poorer to wealthier quintiles for all variables and for all food security measures in all countries. Energy deficiency varies much more across consumption quintiles than wealth index quintiles. Interestingly, inequalities in the share of consumption of food are more pronounced across the wealth index quintiles than per capita consumption.

Although wealth indices and consumption per capita are related and both are drivers of food security, they cannot be used interchangeably for food security analysis. Each inequality measure is important for describing different aspects of food security.

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