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Poverty mapping with aggregate census data


  • Baulch, Bob
  • Minot, Nicholas


Spatially disaggregated maps of the incidence of poverty can be constructed by combining household survey data and census data. In some cases, however, statistical authorities are reluctant, for reasons of confidentiality, to release household-level census data. This paper examines the loss in precision associated with using aggregated census data, such as village- or district-level means of the data. We show analytically that using aggregated census data will result in poverty rates that are biased downward (upward) if the rate is below (above) 50 percent and that the bias approaches zero as the poverty rate approaches zero, 50 percent, and 100 percent. Using data from Vietnam, we find that the average absolute error in estimating provincial poverty rates is about 2 percentage points if the data are aggregated to the enumeration-area level and around 3-4 percentage points if they are aggregated to the provincial level. Even census data aggregated to the provincial level perform reasonably well in ranking the 61 provinces by the incidence of poverty: the average absolute error in ranking is 0.92.

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  • Baulch, Bob & Minot, Nicholas, 2002. "Poverty mapping with aggregate census data," MSSD discussion papers 49, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:mssddp:49

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Chris Elbers & Jean O. Lanjouw & Peter Lanjouw, 2003. "Micro--Level Estimation of Poverty and Inequality," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 355-364, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Olivia, Susan & Gibson, John & Smith, Aaron D. & Rozelle, Scott & Deng, Xiangzheng, 2009. "An Empirical Evaluation of Poverty Mapping Methodology: Explicitly Spatial versus Implicitly Spatial Approach," 2009 Conference (53rd), February 11-13, 2009, Cairns, Australia 47651, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society.
    2. Gilligan, Daniel O. & Veiga, Alinne, 2003. "An Evaluation Of Geographic Targeting In Bolsa Alimentação In Brazil," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 21915, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    3. Gulati, Ashok & Narayanan, Sudha, 2002. "Rice trade liberalization and poverty," MTID discussion papers 51, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Bellon, Mauricio R. & Hodson, David & Bergvinson, David & Beck, David & Martinez-Romero, Eduardo & Montoya, Yinha, 2005. "Targeting agricultural research to benefit poor farmers: Relating poverty mapping to maize environments in Mexico," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 30(5-6), pages 476-492.
    5. Gabre-Madhin, Eleni Z. & Haggblade, Steven, 2003. "Successes in African agriculture," MSSD discussion papers 53, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Shahidur Rashid, 2004. "Spatial Integration of Maize Markets in Post-liberalised Uganda," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 13(1), pages 102-133, March.
    7. Delgado, Christopher L. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Wada, Nikolas & Meijer, Siet & Ahmed, Mahfuzuddin, 2002. "Fish as food," MTID discussion papers 52, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
      • Delgado, Christopher L. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Wada, Nikolas & Meijer, Siet & Ahmed, Mahfuzuddin, 2002. "Fish as food," MSSD discussion papers 52, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

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