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Role of the Poor

Millenium Development Goals





Heat Maps

Heat Map Methodology

A lack of accessible information about the poor and the places where they live is one of the main constraints of inclusive business models. National statistical offices, development banks and donors have information from household surveys and market studies—but it remains buried in databases. Making such information more readily accessible can reduce the uncertainty of entering these markets.

Market heat maps illustrate how much the poor participate in markets. They show access to goods and services in selected sectors and countries, and they show how the goods and services are provided. Behind the maps lies a rich literature and extensive practice in poverty mapping. The maps also complement ongoing efforts to obtain detailed data on low-income consumers (for example, an Inter-American Development Bank initiative to compile country-specific information on income groups in Latin America and the Caribbean, and a report by the International Finance Corporation and the World Resources Institute that highlights the market opportunity represented by the poor and near-poor).

An analytical tool, the heat maps provide detailed information on the nature and composition of markets pertinent to human development. Their visually compelling combination of information allows for a quick read of market inclusiveness and helps to:

  • Reveal unmet demand for the poor as consumers and unrealized opportunities for the poor as producers. Market heat maps show how much the potential consumers for a good or service have (or have not) been reached. They indicate how inclusive markets are for different consumer groups, poor and non-poor. That information can be translated into unrealized opportunities for expansion and innovation in product and service delivery. In addition, the maps show how the poor are marginalized on the supply side of markets, reflecting unrealized opportunities both for poor people and for society as a whole.
  • Assess market inclusiveness. Market heat maps can shed light on market inclusiveness along spatial dimensions, such as geographic regions, urban versus rural and the like — pinpointing unrealized opportunities.
  • Clarify the supply structure. Market heat maps can also illustrate supply structure, showing the presence and relative market shares of different suppliers. Suppliers can be differentiated by ownership (public, nongovernmental organizations, private), size (multinational corporations, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises), or any other relevant criterion.

The paper “Exploring Challenges and Opportunities with Market Heat Maps”, together with the “Technical Note on Generating Market Heat Maps”, uses survey data from six countries in order to shed further light on one aspect of the economic lives of the poor: their access to markets. It develops a framework that could be used to map market inclusiveness, and then applies this to a number of markets that are critical to reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It was commissioned for the Growing Inclusive Markets initiative Working Group on Data and Statistics, a working group led by the UNDP’s Office of Development Studies.

Market Heat Maps

Please find below links to market heat maps, as well as additional data on market inclusiveness. Please note that all maps and graphs are available in a higher quality version by simply clicking on them.