China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard

The China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard is a 16-question survey and scoring system that measures the survey respondent’s level of poverty; it is intended for use in rural China. The China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard can be used by any organization with a mission to help the poor to understand the poverty rates of affected households.


* you must be logged in to download these documents

China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard (English, PDF)
Survey with scored answers to be administered to poverty measurement subjects

Design Documentation Memo (English, PDF)
Detailed technical description of the China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard construction and design, written by Mark Schreiner

Interview Guidance (English, PDF)
Official instructions (where available) for each indicator in the scorecard

Though there are many organizations working with the poor on the ground in China, an easy-to-use, country-specific poverty assessment tool has not been publically available in China to help organizations target poor households. Without objective data on the poverty level of clients, poverty-focused organizations – including microfinance institutions – can only assume that their products and services are serving poor people and helping them move out of poverty.  

It is in this context that Grameen Foundation and YouChange Purong Information Advisory Co. Ltd. collaborated to enable poverty-focused organizations in China to reach their target clients and design products and services that meet the needs of the poor, thereby improving their social performance. Better reporting and data will enable these organizations to better communicate their progress on social objectives to key stakeholders. The partnership’s venture into developing a poverty scorecard for China was influenced by Grameen Foundation’s experience developing the PPI®.

What is an expert-based scorecard and how was it made?

We have not been able to develop a Poverty Probability Index (PPI®) for China because of the data restrictions in accessing the national household survey data (PPIs are based on such data). Given these constraints, Grameen Foundation and YouChange Purong Information Advisory Co. Ltd. developed a poverty scorecard that does not depend on datasets but is designed by expert judgment.  The scorecard was developed working with local and international experts to collaboratively select the appropriate indicators, develop a set of questions, assign weights to the answers and develop a method for comparing and interpreting results. The group of experts met in person and participated in field visits to test indicators in the field. Grameen Foundation and Mark Schreiner of Microfinance Risk Management, L.L.C. facilitated the discussion around indicators and the field testing.  After the meeting, Mark Schreiner finalized the scorecard and created the final documentation.  An interview guide was created to assist practitioners with accurate data collection.  When possible, definitions and instructions are taken from the Chinese National Statistics Office to mirror the Rural Household Survey. 

How is the China Expert-Based Poverty Scorecard used?

The answers to the questions on the scorecard are assigned numerical points, and the sum of the points for a given household is the household’s score.  The scores are then used to rank households from most likely to be poor (lowest score) to least likely to be poor (highest score). The results can then generate critical social performance data that enables the organization to compare and segment products and clients, and track poverty movement over time. This can influence and align sufficient financial and human resources in pursuit of a social mission. Strategic planning and intentional effort are required to ensure that the poor are being reached and their lives are changed over time.