Human Development, Poverty and Youth

Poverty and human development have long been core areas of research for the department. Going beyond a narrow conception of per capita income, our approach incorporates health, education, living standards and quality of work – all of which enable productive, creative and autonomous lives.

Our present strength and reputation in this field is due mainly to two research groups: the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) and Young Lives

ODID faculty, notably Professor Emerita Frances Stewart, participated in design, methodology and research for the UNDP's flagship Human Development Report from its foundation in 1990. This work has been continued and enlarged by OPHI, winner of the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2020. With its innovative Multidimensional Poverty Index, OPHI contributes globally to the conception of the Sustainable Development Goals and also engages with many national governments on data gathering and measurement of poverty to provide evidence for policy.

Building human capabilities necessarily starts with children, and the Young Lives project, initiated in 2001, conducts longitudinal study of childhood poverty following the lives of 12,000 children in Ethiopia, India, Peru and Vietnam. Carried out in collaboration with country partners, the study covers education, skills, work, health, nutrition, inequality, child protection and gender. This multi-country longitudinal research has now moved from studying children to youth, as their original child cohorts have grown older. Young Lives has also developed a new focus on work, in view of the crisis of youth employment.

In the media
Gendered Attitudes and Social Policies: Analysing the case of Conditional Cash Transfer Schemes in...
Horizontal Inequality: Exploring the Impact of International Financial Institution (IFI) Intervent...
Informing policy on early childhood education in Ethiopia


01 Mar, 2019
New special issue edited by Nandini Gooptu explores skill development in India
21 Dec, 2018
OPHI to host two distinguished lectures on Bhutan
28 Nov, 2018
Juan Manuel Santos launches Visiting Professorship with public lecture, informal meetings
13 Nov, 2018
New article co-authored by Nandini Gooptu explores skill formation and gender in an Indian context
25 Oct, 2018
Nobel Peace Laureate Juan Manuel Santos appointed Visiting Professor at ODID
20 Sep, 2018
Half of world’s poor are children, according to new OPHI/UNDP figures
15 Jun, 2018
Young Lives team runners up in 2018 OxTALENT awards for data visualizations
01 Mar, 2018
HDRO and OPHI unify global multidimensional poverty measures to better monitor progress on SDGs
27 Feb, 2018
New article co-authored by Masooda Bano explores family and school effects on religiosity in Pakistan
13 Feb, 2018
Young Lives publish new summative report on children's work


16 Jan, 2018
'Ability versus aspiration'. Young Lives findings on educational aspirations and school effectiveness survey cited in India ASER report
22 Nov, 2017
Zimbabwe's public health crisis. Simukai Chigudu interviewed on BBC World
11 Oct, 2017
'India's top court rules sex with an underage wife is rape'. Reuters cites Young Lives report analysing census data on child marriage
07 Sep, 2017
'Surviving without thriving – but all is not lost for the world's "stunted" children'. Young Lives research on stunting featured in the Guardian
27 Jul, 2017
'Lessons for the Universalization of Health Care in Emerging Economies'. Indrajit Roy participates in UNRISD-organised webinar
04 Jul, 2017
'Nearly half of the world’s poor are now children – that’s 689m young people'. DPhil Felip Roa-Clavijo writes for The Conversation
09 Jun, 2017
Child Marriages Rising in Urban India, Declining in Rural. The Wire highlights study by Young Lives India and India's National Commission for Protection of Child Rights
10 May, 2017
'Gender gap in secondary education: Domestic chores the largest contributor, says study'. Young Lives research featured in
22 Nov, 2016
'Boys in Telangana, AP consume more nutritious food than girls'. Young Lives research features in Deccan Chronicle
12 Sep, 2016
'Ethiopia’s young men: Between hope and a hard place'. Young Lives research features in New Internationalist magazine