Click here for search results

Small Area Estimation Poverty Maps

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.

Contact: Roy van de Weide

More than a Pretty Picture (Book cover)

Featured Resource

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.

Download book


"Micro-level estimation of welfare", P. Lanjouw, J. Lanjouw and C. Elbers, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Number 2911, October 2002

"Brazil within Brazil: testing the poverty map methodology in Mias Gerais", P. Lanjouw, C. Elbers and P. Leite, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper Number 4513, February 2008.

The Policy Research Working Papers below (2002-2011) are drawn from the World Bank's institutional archives. You can search the working paper collection here using the author's last name, title, or working paper number ("wpsxxxx").

You can also download other related documents. These include content-rich current outputs (updated document versions, miscellaneous documents and web pages).

WPS5683Small area estimation-based prediction methods to track poverty : validation and applicationsChristiaensen, Luc; Lanjouw, Peter; Luoto, Jill; Stifel, David2011/06
WPS4724Simulating the impact of geographic targeting on poverty alleviation in Morocco : what are the gains from disaggregation ?Douidich, Mohammed; Ezzrari, Abdeljouad; Lanjouw, Peter2008/09
WPS4513Brazil within Brazil : testing the poverty map methodology in Minas GeraisElbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Peter; Leite, Phillippe George2008/02
WPS4155How good a map ? Putting small area estimation to the testDemombynes, Gabriel; Elbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Jean O.; Lanjouw, Peter2007/03
WPS3997Local inequality and project choice : theory and evidence from EcuadorAraujo, M. Caridad; Ferreira, Francisco H.G.; Lanjouw, Peter; Ozler, Berk2006/08

WPS3662Micro-level estimation of child malnutrition indicators and its application in CambodiaFujii, Tomoki2005/07
WPS3592Which inequality matters? Growth evidence based on small area welfare estimates in UgandaHoogeveen,Johannes G.; Schipper,Youdi2005/05
WPS3313On the unequal inequality of poor communitiesElbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Peter F.; Mistiaen, Johan; Ozler, Berk; Simler, Ken2004/05
WPS2925Crime and local inequality in South AfricaDemombynes, Gabriel; Ozler, Berk2002/11
WPS2911Micro-level estimation of welfareElbers, Chris; Lanjouw, Jean O.; Lanjouw, Peter2002/10

Last updated: 2010-09-29

Permanent URL for this page:

© 2016 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Legal