Most of Africa's Nutritionally Vulnerable Women and Children Are Not Found in Poor Households
van de Walle, Dominique
Antipoverty policies in developing countries often assume that targeting poor households will be reasonably effective in reaching poor individuals. We question this assumption. Our comprehensive assessment for Sub-Saharan Africa reveals that undernourished women and children are spread quite widely across the distribution of household wealth and consumption. While the expected positive household wealth effects on individual nutritional status are evident, roughly three-quarters of underweight women and under-nourished children are not found in the poorest 20% of households, and around half are not found in the poorest 40%. The mean joint probability of being an underweight woman and living in the poorest wealth quintile is only 0.03. Countries with higher overall rates of undernutrition tend to have a higher share of undernourished individuals in non-poor households. The results are consistent with existing evidence of substantial intra-household inequality in nutritional attainments.
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