Individual Deprivation Measure

For more information, visit the Individual Deprivation Measure website.

Program purpose and vision – overview

The Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) is a new, gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty. It has been developed to assess deprivation at the individual level and overcome the limitations of current approaches that measure poverty at the household level.

The current IDM Program is a partnership between The Australian National University, the International Women’s Development Agency and the Australian Government through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Our goal is that by 2020 the IDM is ready for global use as an individual measure of deprivation and a tool for tracking how development is changing the lives of the most deprived.

Key Features

The IDM offers new insights into poverty and inequality, including gender inequality.

  1. It assesses poverty at the individual level, enabling accurate disaggregation of data by sex, age, disability, ethnicity, religion, geographic location and more.
  2. It considers a wider range of factors as relevant to measuring poverty, assessing 15 key economic and social dimensions including some especially important for revealing gender disparity (e.g. voice in the community, time-use, family planning, personal relationships).
  3. The IDM can be sex-disaggregated across 15 dimensions of life relevant to women and men experiencing poverty, generating a poverty-relevant gender equity measure.
  4. Because the IDM collects data on 15 dimensions from each individual (as opposed to using existing cross-sectional data) it can reveal the impact of intersecting deprivations and inform targeting of deprivations impacting particular populations.
  5. The IDM uses a 0 to 4 scale, overcoming the loss of detail and assumptions associated with categorising people as either ‘poor’ or ‘not poor.’ Knowing how poor individuals are, in what dimensions, matters for policy and programming, and assessing the effectiveness of action.
  6. The IDM survey is straightforward and relatively quick to administer, with particular value in data poor contexts given coverage of both economic and social dimensions.
  7. It is grounded in the views of people with lived experience of poverty about how it should be defined and measured, and what is required to be not poor, while also being comparable across contexts and over time.
  8. The IDM is policy relevant. It can help governments and organisations target poverty more effectively as well as help them measure success or failure, revealing what aspects of poverty are changing, by how much and for whom.

Using the IDM

Thank you for your interest in the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM). The measure is currently undergoing refinement and testing and will not be ready for global use until 2020. We value your interest and engagement and ask that anyone wanting to use the IDM, or anyone who has already used the IDM, in research or policy work please be in touch with us directly
The best way to be in touch is via

Updated:  1 July 2019/ Responsible Officer:  PIRC/ Page Contact:  IDM Office