TA 3. Leaving no one behind

(TA3.04) Counting the excluded, the poorest and the most vulnerable who have been left behind, especially in urban areas


Bayanat Hall October 22, 2018 9:00 am - 10:15 am

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Amanda LENHARDT
Dana R Thomson
Radheshyam Bhattarai


Certain groups are ‘left behind’ due to their absence from available data. This is because the international household surveys (in particular DHS and MICS), which are the main sources of data for the reports on development progress typically omit by design:

  • those not in households because they are homeless, or who sleep in their shops/ work places which are not enumerated as dwellings;
  • those who are in institutions, including refugee camps; and
  • mobile, nomadic or pastoralist populations.

In addition, in practice, household surveys will typically under-represent:

  • those in fragile, disjointed or multiple occupancy households (difficult to identify)
  • those in slums (difficult to identify and interview);
  • residents of certain areas of a country deemed to pose a security risk; and
  • adults or children living illegally or stigmatised (due to mental health or disabilities) within households, or those living in their place of work such as maids or guards who may be subsumed within the household they work for, or excluded completely.

If one wanted an empirical – as distinct from a theoretical – definition of the ‘poorest of the poor’, this collection of seven population sub-groups could hardly be bettered. The overall numbers in categories 2 and 6 can be precisely defined, that is not the case for the other categories.

The session will begin by presenting the reasons why these groups are not covered and providing estimates of the overall numbers worldwide missing from the sampling frames of all the household surveys (and with weak coverage in many censuses). The second half of the session will focus on a new approach to counting and surveying those in urban slums. Findings from studies in Hanoi, Kathmandu and Dhaka that have piloted novel methods to address the problem of undercounting including gridded population sampling and one-stage sampling, together with a demonstration of gridsample.org for survey design and mapping-listing protocols for complex urban environments will be shared.

Through a mixture of very brief presentations and a series of Ted-talks, the audience will thus be taken on a journey from the source and scale of the problem, to the limitations on data users to address their needs, concluding with suggested solutions to address these challenges in urban slum areas. The target audiences for this session are: representatives from national statistics offices and institutions responsible for international household surveys; representatives from institutions that utilise these data sources (including other government ministries, international institutions and civil society groups).