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ISRN Economics
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 346750, 7 pages
Research Article

Layers of Socioeconomic Vulnerability in Malawi in the Context of the Millennium Development Goals

1Department of Population & Family Health, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 60 Haven Avenue, New York, NY 10032, USA
2PRRINN-MNCH Programme, 3rd Floor, Abia State House, Abuja, Nigeria

Received 4 December 2012; Accepted 16 January 2013

Academic Editors: B. Junquera, A. Rodriguez-Alvarez, and R. Wright

Copyright © 2013 Henry V. Doctor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Millennium Development Goal 1 focuses on the eradication of poverty and hunger by 2015. While progress towards achieving this goal is promising in many developing countries, it is estimated that 920 million people would still be living under the adjusted poverty threshold of US$1.25 per day. This study employed data from the Malawi 2010 Demographic and Health Survey to examine the relative ranking of women ( 23,020) across the wealth index scale by identifying the characteristics of women which influence their likelihood of belonging to “poor” or “rich” households. Results from the ordered probit model show that older women and those with some formal schooling were likely to fall within the higher categories of the wealth status index. Belonging to households headed by females was associated with lower categories of wealth status than those headed by males. We interpret these results in line with the current development strategies aimed at reducing poverty and hunger by 2015 and the need to identify and respond appropriately to the layers of socioeconomic vulnerability in Malawi.