Updating Poverty in Afghanistan Using the SWIFT-Plus Methodology

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Close to half of the population of Afghanistan was living below the national poverty line prior to the regime change in August 2021, with no additional information on poverty collected in the country since the last official household survey in 2019/20. This paper fills this knowledge gap through survey-to-survey imputation using a SWIFT-plus methodology. The analysis trains a predictive model on data from the 2019/20 Expenditure and Labor Force survey and imputes poverty in the latest Afghanistan Welfare Monitoring Survey. The analysis accounts for seasonality in welfare patterns and implements several tests to assess the model’s predictive capacity. The results show that 48.3 percent of the Afghan population was poor as of April–June 2023, a relative decline of 4 percentage points compared to poverty levels observed over the same months in 2020. The reduction in poverty was concentrated among rural households, with a decline from 51 to 44 percent, while it stagnated in urban areas at around 58 percent. Although no poverty data exists since 2020, the evolution of self-reported welfare and food security makes it reasonable to conclude that poverty first increased during the immediate economic contraction following the regime change and has progressively declined since then.
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Barriga-Cabanillas, Oscar; Chawla, Parth; Redaelli, Silvia; Yoshida, Nobuo. 2023. Updating Poverty in Afghanistan Using the SWIFT-Plus Methodology. Policy Research Working Papers; 10616. © World Bank, Washington, DC. License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.
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