Unsatisfied Basic Needs Index (NBI)


The Unsatisfied Basic Needs Index (NBI) is an indicator that identifies the vulnerability of a society in relation to the population's access to certain basic goods and services.

In other words, we are talking about an indicator that is responsible for measuring the degree of insufficiency that a population presents with regard to its population's access to goods and services necessary for its survival. In this way, it measures the vulnerability of the population and, in a certain way, the poverty that the territory presents and its purchasing power.

Steps for the construction of the Unsatisfied Basic Needs Index (NBI)

In order to use this measuring instrument, the following steps are generally followed:

  1. Determine the basic needs (basic goods and services) of a population.
  2. Select information that is measurable over time, from the census, and that represents those needs.
  3. Define the critical level of satisfaction for each need.
  4. Ensure that the selected indicators correspond to situations of poverty.

Importance of the Unsatisfied Basic Needs Index (NBI)

By measuring the lack of essential elements for the survival of the human being, it is possible to say that the application of the indicator of Unsatisfied Basic Needs allows making predictions about the consumption capacity of a population and, in this way, measuring the degree of poverty through support in sampling, censuses and statistics.

The foregoing, in order to design and generate social policies that favor an allocation of resources that addresses the critical shortcomings of the affected population.

The information obtained also makes it possible to evaluate the success of the implementation of programs.

The indicator allows, finally, to know the degree of economic progress of a population, region or country.

Example of the Index of Unsatisfied Basic Needs

Examples of unmet needs in the population are observed in different elements that the index measures, such as the following:

  • Number of children of school age who do not attend school.
  • Lack of public services.
  • Malnutrition.
  • Poor sanitary conditions (without access to drinking water, lack of pipes inside the house for the use of its inhabitants' waste).
  • Housing in critically overcrowded conditions (precarious living conditions).
  • Ability to reach minimum levels of consumption.

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