Definitions and ways of measuring poverty studies

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  • Definitions and ways of measuring poverty
    • Absolute poverty
      • Seebohm Rowntree
        • Conducted 1st study of poverty in York in 1899
          • 2nd study in 1936 (measured relative poverty)
            • 3rd study in 1950 (relative poverty)
            • Allowed books, radios, beer, newspapers etc.
        • Attempted to develop a scientific way of measuring the minimum requirements for human needs
        • POVERTY LINE- Based on the cheapest food, clothing and housing allowances
          • Obtained medical advise on nutritional requirements (consulted experts)
            • From this he worked out an allowance according to the size of the family
              • When the total earnings were insufficient a household was said to be in povety
        • HE FOUND THAT... In 1899- 33% living in pov
          • In 1936 25% in pov
          • In 1950- 1.5% in pov (dramatic decrease)
        • Strengths and weaknesses
          • 1st study of poverty
          • You can compare change over time
          • Views on adequate diet vary
          • Consulted experts who would have had a middle class view and unrealistic ideas
          • Physical needs are affected by age, gender and occupation
          • Moves beyond an absolute definition of poverty
    • Relative poverty
      • Peter Townsend
        • 1st person to study relative poverty
          • Believed poverty could be measured by discovering the extent to which people were deprived of activities seen as normal by the majority
        • Derived a DEPREVATION INDEX- which was a list of 60 things that were central to life in the UK
          • He chose 12 which he regarded as essentials for the population
        • in 1968-9 he sampled 2,052 households containing 6,098 people
          • Gave each household a deprivation score based on whether they had items
            • Households earning below the threshold where "suffering from poverty"
              • HE FOUND THAT... 22.9% of the population where living in relative poverty
        • Limitations
          • Measured inequality rather than poverty
          • Represents Townsends subjective view
          • People could not say whether they chose not to have certain objects it was just assumed they couldn't afford it
      • Mack and Lansley
        • BREADLINE BRITAIN 1980s
          • Built on Townsend- Defined poverty relatively- measured state of deprivation
        • Tried to distinguish between styles of living which people could not afford and which people didn't want to follow
        • From a list of items- asked respondent's to state what they considered to be necessities (consensual approach)
          • Decided an item became a necessity when 50% of respondents classified it as one
            • 22 items where selected if you lacked 3 items then  you where in poverty
              • Follow up study... now 32 items chosen
        • CONCLUDEDTHAT... 14% of population living in poverty in 1983 and this rose to 21% in 1990
      • Gordon et al
        • 'poverty and social exclusion in the UK' 1999 and 2012
          • Follow up from Mack and Lansley
        • The ATTITUDES SURVEY- Sees what the population thinks are necessities
          • LIVING STANDARDS SURVEY- Finds out who does and does not have each necessity
            • Distinguishes who lack items by choice or not- 50% or more=necessity
            • OVERALL DEPREVATION COUNT- Identifies how many households cannot afford these necessities to a point where it affects life
              • If they lack 2 or more = deprived


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