Lecture Notes - Week 2; defining and measuring poverty, absolute and relative


Absolute Poverty 

In developing countries, absolute poverty is 'subsistence poverty', unable to afford the basic necessities of life e.g food and water and having to rely on food banks.

Charles Booth (1887) - measured who was poor in London by setting on income level below which he regarded people as living in poverty. 

Rowntree (1901) - investigated poverty in York by using a social survey, conducted poverty line (amount of income a person needs to stay out of poverty).                                                                  He added together;

  • cost of a basic diet 
  • minimum amount of clothes
  • basic level of housing rent
  • expert opinions


- 28% of the population of York were in poverty

- 10% in primary poverty, 18% in secondary poverty 

1936 study - absolute poverty 15%

1951 study - absolute poverty 1.5%


  • very basic 
  • didn't consider food stamp 
  • based on prisoners calorie intake…


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