A look into the methods used by Bangladesh Buraeu of Statistics (BBS) to measure urban poverty.
Urban poverty in the city of Dhaka is nothing new. It is a phenomenon which has become synonymous with Bangladesh's heartland. Unplanned planning, inadequate infrastructure coupled with booming economic growth and lack of space has made Dhaka a melting pot of pretty much everything! Jokes apart. Part of the end result of this shift towards the capital city has been the sprouting of slums which number to more than 3000. These slums warrant a study of urban poverty in Dhaka.
The BBS uses two methods for weighing urban poverty
1. Direct Calorie Method- This method assumes that people who take 2122k.cal per day fall below Poverty Line-1(people here are absolute poor) and people who take 1805k.cal per day fall below Poverty Line-2(people here are hardcore poor).
At the national level the percentage of population in Poverty Line-1 decreased from 47.8 % to 44.3% in the survey year of 1988-89 to 2000. But in urban areas the percentage of population below Poverty Line-1 increased from 47.6% to 52.5% from the survey period of 1988-89 to 2000 due to the migration of the rural poor to the urban areas. In the case of Poverty Line-2 the situation is to some extent different. The percentage of hardcore poor has decreased over the years at both the national and urban contexts. But the rate of decrease is comparatively lower in urban areas.
2.Cost of basic Needs method- This method takes into account basic needs along with food for measuring poverty. It has two classifications- Poverty Level 1 and Poverty Level 2.
As far as this method goes, poverty both below Line 2 and Line 1 increased by 7.2% and 5.4 % respectively from 1995-2000. The percentages for Dhaka city during the same time period was 4.6% and 4.2% respectively.
Now by providing free fresh food to the both hard core and extreme poor of Dhaka's slums, we can not only increase the average daily calorie intake of the slum dwellers but also help them save money which, in turn, will bolster their purchasing power. The slum dwellers will have more disposable income in hand to spend on non-food items.