Energy Access, Efficiency, and Poverty: How Many Households Are Energy Poor in Bangladesh?


World Bank Group
Douglas F. Barnes
Shahidur R. Khandker
Hussain A. Samad
1 June 2010

Based on cross-section data from a 2004 survey of approximately 2,300 households in rural Bangladesh, the authors of this paper studied the welfare impacts of household energy use, including those of modern energy, and they estimate the household minimum energy requirement that could be used as a basis for an energy poverty line. They finds that although the use of both traditional (biomass energy burned in conventional stoves) and modern (electricity and kerosene) sources improves household consumption and income, the return on modern sources is 20 to 25 times higher than that on traditional sources. In addition, after comparing alternate measures of the energy poverty line, the authors find that approximately 58 per cent of rural households in Bangladesh are energy poor, compared with 45 per cent that are income poor. The findings suggest that growth in electrification and adoption of efficient cooking stoves for biomass use can lower energy poverty in a climate-friendly way by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Reducing energy poverty helps reduce income poverty as well, according to the authors.