Policy Brief
Vulnerability in Developing Countries

The first Millennium Development Goal aims to halve the number of people in the world living in extreme poverty. In this Research Brief, emanating from the UNU-WIDER project on ‘Fragility and Development’, the premise is that we should also be concerned about households who are vulnerable to poverty. This includes those who have little likelihood of escaping from poverty and who are at risk of falling into poverty in the future. Household vulnerability to poverty is affected by, and affects, vulnerability in other dimensions and levels, such as the vulnerability of a country or region to natural hazards and macro-economic shocks. To address household vulnerability in developing countries requires an understanding of the concept and nature of vulnerability, its measurement and its application. Therefore, this Research Brief asks: what is vulnerability? How can vulnerability be measured? How should households, governments and development agencies respond to vulnerability?