The Definition and Measurement of Poverty Term Paper by Mark Lewis

The Definition and Measurement of Poverty
An analysis and review of the methods to define and measure poverty.
# 107225 | 1,300 words | 6 sources | MLA | 2005 | GB
Published on Aug 29, 2008 in Sociology (Theory) , Political Science (Social Security and Welfare) , Law (General)

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This paper examines the differing options that have been presented for defining and measuring poverty and assesses the relative flaws of each method. The paper begins by defining poverty and then discusses the reasons why there exist serious problems with attempting to define it. The paper then describes the inherent pitfalls that are evident in each method of measuring poverty. The paper also presents the writer's personal opinions on the above issues.

From the Paper:

"In conclusion, it is clear that there exist significant difficulties when we attempt to both define and measure poverty. As we have seen it is very often personal opinion that either guides where we place the poverty line or what factors we use to measure poverty accurately. Using systems based on income is the common method and it is employed in many areas of the world, in particular the United States. However, Townsend was correct to highlight how income alone is not encompassing enough and it is important that we consider other factors that are integral in making and sustaining a good life. Access to quality social care is one of the most vital parts of these other factors."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Abel-Smith, Brian and Townsend. The Poor and the Poorest. London: Bell, 1965.
  • Becker, Saul. Responding to Poverty: The Politics of Cash and Care. New York: Longman, 1997.
  • Dean, Hartley and Melrose, Margaret. Poverty, Riches and Social Citizenship. London: Macmillan Press, 1999.
  • Goodman, Alissa, Johnson, Paul and Webb, Stephen. Inequality in the UK. New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Rowntree, Seebohm. Poverty: A Study in Town Life. London: Macmillan, 1901.

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