What is Poverty Stoplight?

Poverty is Multidimensional

Poverty affects every family differently. That's why the Poverty Stoplight was created as both a metric and a methodology to enable families to assess their levels of poverty and to carry out personalized strategies to overcome their specific deprivations. The Poverty Stoplight defines what it means "not to be poor" across 6 dimensions: Income & Employment, Health & Environment, Housing & Infrastructure, Education & Culture, Organization & Participation, Interiority & Motivation.

Income & Employment

By having adequate income and work, families are able to address the other five dimensions of poverty.

Health & Environment

Families need to take care of their personal health and their environment to live in a thriving, productive community.

Housing & Infrastructure

Without the proper living conditions or sound infrastructure, families day-to-day lives are complicated and can be put in danger.

Organization & Participation

By regularly participating in groups and using their voices to be heard, families can see the change they want in their communities.

Education & Culture

By prioritizing education, families can grow their confidence, expertise and skills to generate income and contribute to society.

Interiority & Motivation

With the proper self-esteem and motivation, families will proactively seek solutions to their problems and think of others before making decisions?

These dimensions are further divided into 50 indicators. Each indicator is represented by three images and simple explanations that the family uses to complete a self-evaluated survey. Each image represents a situation which defines extreme poverty (red), poverty (yellow) and non-poverty (green). This helps identify the family's status for each specific indicator.
The self-evaluation survey is conducted using software that can be used on computers, tablets, or mobile phones. Its results allow for easy visualization by showing families their strengths in green and areas for improvement in yellow and red.

Thus, the Poverty Stoplight breaks down the overwhelming concept of poverty into smaller, more manageable problems that can be solved through simple interventions, making the "invisible" manifestations of poverty visible in the shape of simple, understandable indicators.

One of the methodology’s greatest strengths is in motivating positive results from what is measured. In searching for solutions to each indicator, it helps generate actions and priorities to better channel existing resources and to promote collaboration among all stakeholders.
Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.
Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
How It Helps

The Poverty Stoplight generates many tangible benefits for the families taking the survey as well as for the organizations that administer it.

Families who take the survey are able to:

  • Visualize their own poverty in a simplified way.

  • Become actors, not objects, of development and poverty elimination.

  • Break down the overwhelming concept of poverty into manageable fragments.

  • Develop their own Life Map to overcome poverty.

Who can use it?

Besides activating individuals and families by making them aware of their own needs and encouraging their action, the data collected through the Poverty Stoplight methodology has proven to be useful across communities, organizations, NGOs and within businesses.

Social Organizations

Social organizations that become Poverty Stoplight Hubs, such as NGOs, universities, social enterprises, social entrepreneurs, multilateral development and faith-based organizations, collaborate with partners in their region or country to work together towards the common goal of poverty elimination.



Business associations that work with Poverty Stoplight are connected to a network of firms that can implement the Poverty Stoplight at the individual company level. As a Poverty Stoplight partner, business associations work to improve firm profits as well as workers’ satisfaction. Even more, they are able to distinguish their company’s image, work and brand in the community.



With the ability to show communities exactly where and how poverty is manifested in their neighborhoods, the Poverty Stoplight has the capacity to bring in considerable influence and resources into the fight against poverty. Communities that use the Poverty Stoplight activate the capacity of families to become agents of change in their own lives.