12 July 2017: Today the GlobeScan Foundation, in partnership with Oxfam, releases the first results from its initiative to conduct the first-ever survey of the poor across the world. Our pilot survey of 1,021 people living below the poverty line was conducted in-person and by mobile telephones in India during 2016. The results demonstrate it is possible to survey the poorest of the poor, and also reveal provocative findings that will challenge those working to reduce poverty in India and beyond.
One key finding relates to the Indian government’s recent policy of requiring those receiving government assistance to have a bank account in which funds can be deposited. According to our survey, one-third (34%) of those living below the poverty line in India – 45 percent in rural areas – have yet to open a bank account. This suggests that this government policy, well-intentioned as it is for reducing corruption, could leave large numbers of India’s poor without the assistance they so desperately need.
Another finding from the Survey of the Poor shows that Indians living in poverty give quite negative ratings to the role both the police and community leaders play in their lives. Majorities of the poorest-of-the-poor (54% and 51% respectively) say these two actors actually worsen their lives. This suggests that these two groups are important intervention points for initiatives to improve the lives of the poor.
A number of survey findings underscore the particularly challenging plight of women living in poverty. Sixty percent of women surveyed report living in temporary shelters or outside (without walls), compared to 31 percent of men. Over a third of women (36%) report never attending school versus only 6 percent of men, and those women who did attend school attended for an average of 2 fewer years than men. One-third of women (32%) have no privacy when they use the latrine. Clearly, more aid programs aimed at improving women’s lives are urgently needed.
Another survey finding underscores the importance of improving the availability of potable water in poor Indian communities. One in two respondents (51%) report that their household has gone without adequate clean water in the past month, ahead of other necessities like food (38%) and cooking fuel (44%).
Perhaps most importantly, the survey’s findings fully support the UN Development Program’s determination that poverty is multi-dimensional, and is not simply a function of low income and expenditures. Statistical analysis by GlobeScan shows that factors including access to healthcare, information connectedness, trust in institutions, sense of personal safety, subjective well-being, and the extent to which daily household needs are being met (food, water, etc.), are all significant determinants of “poverty.”
Finally, the survey also provides self-reported evidence that climate change is already negatively affecting the livelihoods of India’s most vulnerable citizens. Half of respondents (50%) say the length, timing, or severity of the seasons has changed over the last decade, and 39 percent say the change in seasons has negatively affected their ability to feed their family. Among those who own arable land, these percentages are higher, at 86 percent and 45 percent, respectively. These findings show that mitigating the effects of climate change will be central to reducing poverty.
This pilot study in India is the first phase of the Survey of the Poor initiative with ambitions to regularly survey in the ten countries where 80 percent of the world’s poor reside. The experience gained from this pilot study will be used to sharpen and improve all aspects of the project in preparation for the 2017–2018 global rollout of this initiative.
A total of 1,021 interviews were conducted in India with heads of poor households or their spouses from April to June 2016. Fifty-five percent of the interviews were conducted in urban settings, and 45 percent in rural settings. Full methodological details can be found in the detailed research report, referenced at the end of this release.
Nisha Agrawal, CEO of Oxfam India, said: "The Survey of the Poor gives some of the poorest and most disadvantaged people in India a voice. It gives them a rare opportunity to talk about their lives, the problems they face, and what needs to change. The Indian government must listen and act on their concerns. Women face a double burden of poverty and discrimination. The Indian government must create equal opportunities for women’s leadership at all levels of decision-making – political, economic, and public life. It must undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources and ensure effective implementation of laws to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls."
Eric Whan, Executive Director at the GlobeScan Foundation, says: “The Survey of the Poor will capture objective and subjective assessments of the quality of life of the poorest of the poor, their aspirations for the future, and provide a platform for feedback on aid programs, policy changes, and the implementation of government interventions over time. It will provide a forum for feedback from the individuals and communities that aid is intended to impact and influence, and as a result, provide a unique and powerful source of intelligence to the development community and policy makers alike.”
Yashwant Deshmukh, Founder-Director at CVoter International, says: “As GlobeScan’s long-time Indian research partner, it was our pleasure to pilot the Survey of the Poor study in India, particularly in implementing our methodological learnings from project VASE (Victims As Social Evaluators). This resulted in the greatest success in terms of completing quality interviews with ultra-poor respondents given increased trust levels and minimized language and dialect barriers.”
The goals of the Survey of the Poor initiative are to develop a deep understanding of the life conditions, views, and needs of those living in poverty around the world, and to report those findings to the widest possible audience. This information will allow governments and organizations to focus their interventions against poverty and, when tracked over time, will also provide a strong tool for assessing the impact of those interventions.
The Survey of the Poor study in India is the pilot phase of the GlobeScan Foundation's broader Survey of the Poor initiative that will soon be conducted in ten countries around the world. This pilot study was aimed at assessing the literacy and numeracy constraints of the intended population, as well as the instrument’s content, to evaluate different sampling and interviewing techniques.
While the pilot project certainly demonstrated our ability to successfully reach and interview both poor and ultra-poor* populations, it also demonstrated a need for further innovation and experimentation to reach a higher proportion of the ultra-poor in the sampling and in randomly selecting respondents at the point of interviewing. For example, while 100 percent of the sample reported incomes below the poverty line in India of 3,000 INR (rupees) a month, only about one-third of the sample was considered to be ultra-poor.
For the Indian survey, interviews were conducted in ten languages and dialects. A total of 1,021 interviews were conducted with heads of poor households or their spouses from April to June 2016. Fifty-five percent of the interviews were conducted in urban settings, and 45 percent in rural settings.
* The term “ultra-poor” was coined in 1986 by Michael Lipton of the University of Sussex. It is defined as “a group of people who eat below 80% of their energy requirements despite spending at least 80% of income on food.”
The GlobeScan Foundation is dedicated to helping achieve a more sustainable and just world for all. To accomplish this, we develop and apply a range of social science tools to give voice to global publics, help unlock collaboration and accelerate progress.
We build on the global research capabilities of GlobeScan Incorporated (founded in 1987), including well-established working relationships with research institutes around the world. GlobeScan is best known for conducting the 20-country BBC World Service Poll on topical issues (annually since 2005), for its annual syndicated Radar public opinion research service across G20 countries, for its respected thought leadership on corporate social responsibility and sustainability, and for its balanced client list that includes major global companies (Unilever, Disney, IKEA), civil society organizations (Gates Foundation, ICRC, Amnesty), and multilateral agencies (IMF, ADB, WHO).
Established in 2012, the GlobeScan Foundation is a federally incorporated not-for-profit private foundation based in Canada. Our president, Doug Miller, is a widely quoted global pollster (BBC, The Economist’s “World in 2016”), and author of “Can the World Be Wrong? Where Global Public Opinion Says We’re Headed” (Greenleaf 2016).
For more information, please visit: www.globescanfoundation.org
Begun in 2015 in partnership with Oxfam International, the Survey of the Poor initiative of the GlobeScan Foundation has set out to conduct the world’s first statistically meaningful survey of the poorest of the poor around the world, giving voice to this important global public and providing metrics to help governments and development aid organizations assess their impact and better target their efforts.
The goals of the Survey of the Poor initiative include deeply understanding and widely reporting the life conditions, views and needs of those living in poverty around the world, and to track over time the improved conditions that world governments have promised them. Without engaging with people living in poverty in this way, we cannot see how the Global Goal of eliminating poverty will ever be achieved.
In the early development of the Survey of the Poor, a series of qualitative focus group discussions were held in India during 2015 with people living in poverty and their advocates in both urban and rural settings.
This current report gives details of the methodology, findings and statistical analysis from our first quantitative survey of 1,021 Indian residents living in poverty, which was conducted from April to June 2016. Seen as the pilot phase of our initiative, this survey was aimed at piloting and testing both the sampling methodology and questionnaire. The learning from this phase of work will be applied to further developing all aspects for the 2017–2018 rollout of the initiative across five to ten countries..
The Survey of the Poor in India has demonstrated that it is possible to randomly sample the poor and ultra-poor population and conduct quantitative research with them using a standard questionnaire. This infographic, based on our Indian sample of 1,021 people living in poverty, includes a graphical display of insights found in our complete report, available here.
Dr. David Nabarro, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change, recently wrote a letter of appreciation for public opinion metrics the GlobeScan Foundation provided in support of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and for our Survey of the Poor initiative.
You can read a copy of the letter here.
In a contributed article to The Economist's annual The World in 2016 special edition, GlobeScan Foundation President, Doug Miller has been recognised for his public opinion pointers to the future.
Upon the latest release of The World in 2017, Daniel Franklin, Editor of the Economist’s “Year in 2016”, took to a recent podcast to name Doug as the most noteworthy predictor of any of the contributors to their “World in 2016” magazine:
GlobeScan’s RADAR is an annual research and advisory program that has been tracking public opinion trends across 20 countries since 1997.
Each year, we conduct 20,000 in-person and telephone interviews with scientific samples of citizens on topics that are highly relevant to the strategic needs of civil society organizations and philanthropic foundations (please see page 2 for topics and countries covered).
For the first time in 2016, the GlobeScan Foundation is offering Civil Society RADAR – an interpretive strategic briefing package of RADAR insights and counsel tailored to the needs of global civil society organizations.
LONDON - For the first time in 15 years of tracking by GlobeScan, findings indicate that nearly one in two people (49%) surveyed across 14 tracking countries see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country. This sentiment is being driven by citizens of large emerging economies, according to a new poll for the BBC World Service.
The poll, conducted by GlobeScan among more than 20,000 people worldwide between December 2015 and April 2016, is being released as part of the BBC World Service Identity Season—a Spring season of broadcasts on the World Service’s 27 language services exploring stories about how people identify themselves around the world.
Among all 18 countries where this question was asked in 2016, the poll suggests more than half (51%) see themselves more as global citizens than citizens of their country, against 43 per cent who identify nationally. This is the first time since tracking began in 2001 that there is a global majority who leans this way, and the results in 2016 are driven by strong increases since 2015 in non-OECD countries including Nigeria (73%, up 13 points), China (71%, up 14 points), Peru (70%, up 27 points), and India (67%, up 13 points).
Looking at the 14 tracking countries that have been surveyed repeatedly since 2001, a growing divide appears on the topic of global citizenship between respondents from developing economies and those from industrialised countries. At the height of the financial crisis in 2009, views were fairly similar across the two country groupings, with 48 per cent in seven OECD countries seeing themselves more as global citizens than national, and 45 per cent in seven non-OECD countries. This sentiment has continued to grow at a strong pace since then among respondents in emerging economies to reach a high of 56 per cent in both 2015 and 2016. Conversely in seven OECD countries it has followed an opposite trajectory, dropping to a low of 39 per cent in 2011 and remaining at low levels since (now at 42%). This latter trend has been particularly pronounced in Germany where the poll suggests identification with global citizenship has dropped 13 points since 2009 to only 30 per cent today (the lowest since 2001).
The poll also asked about the level of approval for different demographic developments changing the population make-up of their country, and results indicate public opinion is generally quite supportive of a number of trends shaping global society. In the 19 countries surveyed for this series of questions, three quarters (75%) of respondents approve of intermarriage between different races or ethnic groups, and more than six in ten (63%) approve of immigration from other countries (with 31% disapproving). Similar degrees of openness are observed on accepting refugees, with 62 and 57 per cent respectively supporting their country admitting refugees fleeing conflict generally, and from Syria in particular. On all of these statements, German attitudes stand out due to the unusually high percentage of respondents choosing “neither agree nor disagree,” or that it “depends.” A majority of Germans (54%) nonetheless approves the acceptance of Syrian refugees.
GlobeScan Chairman Doug Miller commented: “The poll’s finding that growing majorities of people in emerging economies identify as global citizens will challenge many people’s (and organisations’) ideas of what the future might look like.”
An additional question on the poll gave respondents a broader range of options to reflect on how they consider their identity. Results reveal the complexity of the issue and show how people can identify in different ways.
When offered a choice between five distinct identities, more than one in two citizens (52%) across 19 countries define their most important identity as citizens of their country, outnumbering those who view themselves as being a world citizen (17%), a resident of their local community (11%), or who identify themselves primarily through their religion (9%), or their race or culture (8%). Out of 19 countries, majorities or strong pluralities in 16 countries describe being a national citizen as the most important feature of their identity. National citizenship is the strongest in Kenya (84%) and Ghana (81%), followed by Russia (70%), Nigeria (68%), and Chile (64%).
Three countries stand out in the way their populations think about self-identity. Spaniards are by far the most likely to identify with world citizenship (54%). For 56 per cent of Indonesians, belonging to their local community is the strongest defining identity. And for Pakistanis, a strong plurality (43%) identify first as a member of their religion.
The results are drawn from a telephone and in-person survey of 20,823 adult citizens across 21 participating countries in total. Not all questions were asked in all countries. The poll was conducted for the BBC World Service between December 2, 2015 and April 15, 2016 by the international opinion research and consultancy firm GlobeScan and its national research partners. Within-country results are considered accurate within +/- 2.8 to 3.7 per cent 19 times out of 20. Urban-only samples were used in Brazil, China, Indonesia, and Kenya.
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BBC World Service is an international multimedia broadcaster, delivering a wide range of language and regional services on radio, TV, online and via wireless handheld devices. It uses multiple platforms to reach its weekly audience of 166 million globally, including shortwave, AM, FM, digital satellite and cable channels. Its news sites include audio and video content and offer opportunities to join the global debate. BBC World Service offers its multilingual radio content to partner FM stations around the world and has numerous partnerships supplying content to news websites, mobile phones and other wireless handheld devices as well as TV channels. For more information, visit bbcworldservice.com
LONDON - The Regeneration Roadmap, a joint initiative from GlobeScan and SustainAbility, launches today with the first of The Ray Anderson Memorial Interviews, a weekly series of videos featuring the most notable sustainable development pioneers from the past few decades. Building on these pioneer insights, the project will assess progress on sustainable development to date and help chart a course to a more sustainable future.
2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rio Earth Summit and the 25th anniversary of the Brundtland Report, Our Common Future, which together elevated the concept of sustainable development on the global policy agenda. The Regeneration Roadmap over the course of the year will bring together a wide range of leaders and influencers to determine how best to bring new energy and focus to the agenda.
Made possible by the generous support of presenting sponsor SC Johnson, sponsor DuPont and in partnership with Guardian Sustainable Business, this joint initiative by GlobeScan and SustainAbility – both celebrating their own 25th anniversaries this year – will particularly focus on the role that the private sector can take to fundamentally reshape – and make more sustainable – our society and economy.
“SC Johnson believes that the private sector has an important role to play in making the world a better place,” said Kelly M. Semrau, SC Johnson Chief Sustainability Officer. “The Regeneration Roadmap is an excellent opportunity to bring influencers and business together to create a roadmap for sustainability leadership that is essential to the future.”
Also launched today is the first in a series of The Regeneration Roadmap white papers – Unfinished Business: Perspectives from the Sustainable Development Frontier. Over the course of 2012, we will undertake a series of surveys – of experts, influencers and the general public – and will host a number of live events, to further inform the debate and catalyze new approaches to sustainable business.
“The Regeneration Roadmap is just the type of channel to spur dialogue and collaboration among industry, NGOs, academia, policymakers and other thought leaders to solve some of the world’s most pressing challenges,” said Linda Fisher, DuPont Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer. “DuPont is proud to be part of the conversation to find innovative solutions that can deliver sustainable growth now and in the future.”
To view all of the Ray Anderson Memorial Interviews, please visit www.TheRegenerationRoadmap.com
In addition to presenting sponsor SC Johnson, sponsor DuPont and media sponsor GSB, The Regeneration Roadmap is delighted to have the support of Globe; the International Council on Mining and Metals; National Geographic; Net Impact; Report Comunicação: Starbucks; Sustain our Africa; Sustainable Life Media; UNEP; the World Bank; and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.