Multidimensional child poverty and its determinants : a case of Uganda

  • Francis Wasswa

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Over the last two decades, Uganda has registered impressive economic growth accompanied by a significant reduction in income poverty, from 56 per cent in 1992 to 25 per cent in 2010. Consequently, the country has met the first Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) target of cutting the poverty level in half by 2015. However, with less than two years until the deadline set by the international community to attain the MDGs, the recent Uganda MDG progress report gives evidence that this accomplishment has not been accompanied by improvements in other important areas. It shows that Uganda's performance on child-related MDGs indicators such as nutrition, health and education, remains `o-track' (MFPED,2010). In this way, the Uganda MDGs progress report for 2010 arms that progress in one dimension of human well-being is not necessarily associated with improvements in others, and that to be comprehensive, any assessment of human deprivation needs to be done in a multidimensional framework. Therefore, this study aims to examine the incidence, intensity and determinants of multimensional child poverty in Uganda. In this study, a child is deemed as any individual below 18 years of age in accordance with Uganda's Constitution. Children are not a homogeneous group, children in different stages of childhood suffer different forms of deprivations and vulnerabilities and the impact of these vary across different age groups. Consequently, a three-step analysis of child poverty is performed, constituting the three empirical chapters of this study. The first empirical chapter applies the Alkire and Foster (2007,2011b) counting and dual cut-o approach to the 2006 Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) to generate a robust prole of multidimensional child poverty among pre-school children. The second empirical chapter extends the first analysis by analysing the changes in multidimensional child poverty among schoolchildren in Uganda between 2002 and 2010 using Uganda National Household Survey (UNHS) data sets. The third empirical chapters provides an econometric analysis of the determinants of multidimensional child poverty. It uses logistic regressions to examine the role played by children and household characteristics in increasing or decreasing the probability of a child being considered multidimensionally poor. In general, the findings show that multidimensional child poverty is highest among children living in rural areas, and in the Northern and Eastern regions. The analysis of changes in child poverty suggests a strong reduction in multidimensional child poverty between 2002 and 2010,driven relatively more by household-related indicators such as access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation facilities and household consumption expenditure, than by child-specific indicators such as schooling, literacy or child labour. However, the reduction in multidimensional child poverty has not been uniform across different population subgroups. The pattern of reduction across rural/urban areas and regions has been less pro-poor than that of income poverty. In addition, the poorer subgroups have shown slower progress, thus widening inter-group multidimensional child poverty. The results also show a considerable poverty mismatch between the monetary and multidimensional approaches. Finally, the findings demonstrate the importance of education, employment in the non-agriculture sector, small family size and health infrastructure in reducing multidimensional child poverty in Uganda. The present study provides for the first time a comprehensive quantitative investigation of the extent and causes of multidimensional child poverty in Uganda using a theoretically improved Alkire-Foster approach to poverty measurement. The study will be a useful resource for informing academia, CSOs and policy makers on modern approaches to measuring child deprivation, as well as policies for improving child welfare in Uganda.
    Date of Award2012
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorAnne Daly (Supervisor), Tesfaye Gebremedhin (Supervisor) & Riyana Miranti (Supervisor)

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