How poor are participants in development projects? This paper analyzes how well a simple scorecard identifies poor clients at a microlender in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The scorecard effectively ranks clients by relative poverty and also identifies the likelihood that a client is poor by an absolute standard.

The score tracks poverty more closely than loan size, microfinance’s traditional poverty indicator. Overall, poverty scorecards are a simple, inexpensive way for microlenders—or any other development entity—to target the poor, track changes in poverty over time, manage poverty outreach, and report on clients’ absolute poverty.