Researchers harness big data to improve poverty maps, a much-needed tool to aid world’s most vulnerable
For years, policymakers have relied upon surveys and census data to track and respond to extreme poverty.
While effective, assembling this information is costly and time-consuming, and it often lacks detail that aid organizations and governments need in order to best deploy their resources.
That could soon change.
A new mapping technique, described in the Nov. 14 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences, shows how researchers are developing computational tools that combine cellphone records with data from satellites and geographic information systems to create timely and incredibly detailed poverty maps.
“Despite much progress in recent decades, there are still more than 1 billion people worldwide lacking food, shelter and other basic human necessities,” says Neeti Pokhriyal, one of the study’s co-lead authors, and a PhD candidate in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University at Buffalo.
The study is titled “Combining Disparate Data Sources for Improved Poverty Prediction and Mapping.”
Some organizations define extreme poverty as a severe lack of food, health care, education and other basic needs. Others relate it to income; for example, the World Bank says people living on less than $1.25 per day (2005 prices) are extremely impoverished.
While declining in most areas of the world, roughly 1.2 billion people still live in extreme poverty. Most are in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean. Aid organizations and governmental agencies say that timely and accurate data are vital to ending extreme poverty.
The study focuses on Senegal, a sub-Saharan country with a high poverty rate.
The first data set are 11 billion calls and texts from more than 9 million Senegalese mobile phone users. All information is anonymous and it captures how, when, where and with whom people communicate with.
The second data set comes from satellite imagery, geographic information systems and weather stations. It offers insight into food security, economic activity and accessibility to services and other indicators of poverty. This can be gleaned from the presence of electricity, paved roads, agriculture and other signs of development.
The two datasets are combined using a machine learning-based framework.
Using the framework, the researchers created maps detailing the poverty levels of 552 communities in Senegal. Current poverty maps divide the nation in four regions. The framework also can help predict certain dimensions of poverty such as deprivations in education, standard of living and health.
Unlike surveys or censuses, which can take years and cost millions of dollars, these maps can be generated quickly and cost-efficiently. And they can be updated as often as the data sources are updated. Plus, their diagnostic nature can help assist policymakers in designing better interventions to fight poverty.
Pokhriyal, who began work on the project in 2015 and has travelled to Senegal, says the goal is not to replace census and surveys but to supplement these sources of information in between cycles. The approach could also prove useful in areas of war and conflict, as well as remote regions.
The Latest on: Extreme poverty
[google_news title=”” keyword=”extreme poverty” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
- Skyscrapers mean nothing if people still trapped in poverty, says ruleron February 22, 2024 at 7:04 pm
This decline in extreme poverty, he added, was due to various factors, including the dedication shown by the district-level administrations and all relevant agencies. “Through proactive teamwork ...
- Towering skyscrapers give no meaning if people still trapped in poverty, says Sultan Nazrinon February 22, 2024 at 7:02 pm
This decline in extreme poverty, according to His Royal Highness, is due to various factors, including the dedication of district administrations and all relevant agencies. "Through proactive teamwork ...
- TOWERING SKYSCRAPERS GIVE NO MEANING IF PEOPLE STILL TRAPPED IN POVERTY - SULTAN NAZRINon February 22, 2024 at 6:29 pm
This decline in extreme poverty, according to His Royal Highness, is due to various factors, including the dedication of district administrations and all relevant agencies. “Through proactive teamwork ...
- Which economies have the highest working poverty rates?on February 22, 2024 at 8:02 am
In the Philippines, around 0.55% of the working population are in extreme poverty or living below the poverty line of $2.15 a day last year, down from 2.22% in 2022, according to the International ...
- Stars and politicians join the fight against povertyon February 20, 2024 at 11:35 am
Julia Gillard, Hugh Jackman and the Duchess of York are among high-profile supporters of a global initiative meeting in the fight against extreme poverty.
- Governor felicitates 625 women graduating out of extreme povertyon February 19, 2024 at 6:59 pm
The Nudge Institute today announced the graduation of 625 households from 41 villages in 6 blocks of Latehar and Gumla districts as part of their implementation program to graduate households out of ...
- Peru: Gov't moves forward in fighting poverty and closing gaps nationwideon February 19, 2024 at 5:43 pm
- MADANI DIRECTIONS IN POVERTY ERADICATIONon February 18, 2024 at 6:38 pm
For a considerable time, poverty has been viewed as a complex issue that involves limited access to essential services, housing, safety, and other facets of quality of life in addition to a lack of ...
- From extreme poverty to social media: What makes children vulnerable to traffickingon February 13, 2024 at 2:53 am
Children must be provided with role models from their local community and support from an early age. It is imperative to sensitise not only the police but also educators, social welfare officers, ...
- Polycrises are Pushing More Women into Poverty: How can we Help Halt that Trend?on February 12, 2024 at 12:40 am
Let’s call her Anita. Four years ago, her life took an unexpected turn when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything she knew. As businesses closed and economic uncertainty loomed, Anita, like ...
via Google News and Bing News