Sociology - How to measure poverty?

  • Created by: Ryan62835
  • Created on: 21-09-18 12:06

Deprivation index 1979

Townsend operationalised relative poverty and created this measurement. He identified 12 items that he believed you couldn't live without and this related to the entire population. The households were given a score depending on the items they had which were on the list - the higher the score - the more deprived and in poverty the household were.

One strength of this measurement is that it stays relevant to society today as the items on the list can change over time. A weakness of this measurement is that he didn't do any proper research to identify the 12 items on the list and just used his own opinion also the deprivation index is that it is too subjective. 

1 of 6

Budget standards measure 1990

Bradshaw came up with this in 1990 and it is based on absolute poverty. This is where a family or person may live off the most basic budget. Families or people living on incomes below the basic budget are in poverty. They actually spend their money when they have the basic budget coming in.

One strength of this measurement is that it is easy to compare someone's income against basic living standards. One weakness of this measurment is that it makes assumptions of what the basic living standard and budget is and that it doens't take into account a persons social and historical context. 

2 of 6

Consensual approach 1985 (the best measurement)

This measurement was created by Mack and Lansley, who created a list of 22 basic necessities and decided that those who chose the last option were deprived. The households who lacked 3 or more items from the list were seen as being in poverty. 

The strengths of this measurement are that the necessities can keep changing so it gives an accurate portrayal of the social situations in today's society and that this is basically and improved version of the deprivation index. The weakness of this measurement are that the surveys didn't use the same necessities each time. 

The consensual approach is the best measurement because it is keeping up with the times and the social situation in society meaning that it is fair. 

3 of 6


The meaning of operationalise is to put a concept or idea into a measureable and universally understood format.

4 of 6

The definition of wealth and income

Wealth is is the ownership of property, shares and other assets which you own. Income is the regular payment or flow of money. 

Marketable wealth = made up of assets that can be turned into cash.

Non - marketable wealth = wealth that cannot be sold. 

Unearned income = income that you recieve form properties and other assets but not earned from work.

Earned income = income you gain from working for example acting for a film. 

5 of 6

The problems with income and wealth

One problem with income is that some people decide that they would rather live of their undeserved income instead of working for their income. One problem with wealth is that some people inherit their wealth from family members before, this means that many just live off their inherited wealth and the interest it recieves. 

6 of 6


No comments have yet been made

Similar Sociology resources:

See all Sociology resources »See all Poverty, wealth and welfare resources »