ERIC Number: ED141432
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Nov-18
Reference Count: 0
Relative Poverty. The Measure of Poverty, Technical Paper XIII.
This paper examines some of the implications, including geographic and residential considerations, of adopting a relative poverty defintion which would fix the poverty threshold at some proportion of median income. The major virtues of such a definition are that it is explicitly relative and it is easy to understand and construct. The major flaw is that, in the absence of a major shift in the income distribution, the proportion of persons in poverty would remain constant over time. The evidence in this paper indicates that such a poverty measure would have the effect of identifying as poor a nearly fixed proportion of the population. In the absence of significant shifts in the income distribution, the proportion of the population in poverty would not be lowered by a growth in the average level of real income. Using a definition based on median income would also allow the possibility of introducing inter-area differentials through the use of sub-national medians. However, even though the application of a single national poverty standard causes some inequities, the data suggests that the adoption of a poverty standard based on sub-national medians would create its own inequities. The only realistic way of introducing inter-area differentials into a poverty definition is to develop a survey which will produce acceptable data on inter-area differences in living costs. (Author/AM)
Descriptors: Definitions, Demography, Income, Low Income, Low Income Groups, Measurement Objectives, Measurement Techniques, Poverty, Surveys
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Room 443D-South Portal Building, Washington, D.C. 20201
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Washington, DC. Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.
Note: For related documents, see UD 016 918-929 and UD 017 087; Best copy available