A Method to Update Poverty Maps

Nguyen Viet Cuong

Journal of Development Studies, Volume 48, Issue 12, pp. 1844-63


The small area estimation method proposed by Elbers et al. (Elbers, C., Lanjouw, J. and Lanjouw, P. (2003) Micro-level estimation of poverty and inequality. Econometrica, 71(1), pp. 355–364) combines a household survey and a census to generate a disaggregated map of poverty measures. Since censuses are often conducted every 10 years, construction of poverty maps on a regular basis is not straightforward. This article discusses methods to update poverty maps for years between censuses by combining an old census and new household surveys. These discussed methods are illustrated by producing a poverty map in Vietnam for the years 2004 and 2006 using the 1999 Population and Housing Census and Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys in 2002, 2004 and 2006. The validation of the updating methods is examined by comparing poverty estimates in 2006 obtained from the updating methods with benchmark poverty estimates obtained from the standard ‘small area estimation’ method using data from the 2006 Vietnam Household Living and the 2006 Rural Agriculture and Fishery Census.

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