• Non-ICIMOD Publication
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Geographical Dynamics of Poverty in Nepal between 2005 and 2011: Where and How?

  • Zhang, J.
  • Liu, C.
  • Hutton, C.
  • Koirala, H.

© 2018 by the authors. Poverty eradication is currently a central issue within the national economic development strategy in developing countries. Understanding the spatial changes and possible drivers of poverty from different geographical perspectives has the potential to provide a policy-relevant understanding of the trends in poverty. By district-level data, poverty incidence (PI), and a statistical analysis of the period from 2005 to 2011 in Nepal, we used the location quotient (LQ), as well as the Lorenz curve, to inspect the poverty concentration and the spatial-temporal variation of poverty in Nepal. As such, this study analyzed the change in identified typologies of poverty using an approach, which accounts for inter-regional and three identified terrain components. The PI methodological approach was applied in order to (i) compare the spatial change in poverty for Nepal during the study period from a geographical-administrative perspective and (ii) to develop Lorenze curves which show the change of poverty concentration over the study period. Within the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) approach, PI was further used, in combination with the indices of poverty gap (PG) and squared poverty gap (SPG), in order to highlight the unidimensional poverty (UP), that is the incidence, depth, and severity of poverty between 2005 and 2011. Simultaneously, the spatial relationship between UP and economic development was assessed, leading to five specific economic modes or typologies of poverty. Our findings identified that proportional poverty appears to have grown in mountainous areas as well as more urbanized and developed regions, while the mid hill regions have steadily reduced proportions of poverty. We propose a hypothesis, for further examination, which suggests that the increase in proportional poverty in the mountain regions is as a result of the migration to the urban areas of Nepal of the relatively less poor, leaving behind a trapped poorer population. This migration to urban areas of the relatively less poor, rather counterintuitively, produced an increase in proportional poverty in the urban areas. This is due to the fact that while this population represents the wealthier mountain communities, they are still relatively poor in an urban setting.

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