First, researchers have disputed whether poverty should be measured in ‘absolute‘ or ‘relative’ term. Sane writers have argued that there is a common minimum standard that can be applied to all societies below which individuals can be said to be in poverty.
Measures of absolute poverty are usually based upon the idea of substance. In other words, people are in poverty if they do not have the resources to maintain human life.
Supporters of the concept of relative poverty, however, tend to dismiss this view. They argue that a definition must relate to the standards of a particular society at a particular time. According to this view, the point at which the dividing line separates the poor from other members of society is drawn, will vary according to how effluent that society is.
Now the question arises: What are the measurements of poverty? The important measurements are:
- Low consumption
- Low income
- Chronic illness or poor health
- Unemployment or under employment
- Unsanitary housing conditions.
Measurements of Poverty
Broadly, the power key of a given society is expressed in terms of poor resources, low national income, low per capita income, high disparity in income distribution, weak defence and the like.
Some scholars have referred to poverty-linked characteristics of households to point out that individuals from these households run a greater risk of being poor. The chances increase as the households exhibit more of these characteristics.
The more important among these characteristics are
- absence of full wage earner in the house,
- households where men are above 60 years age,
- households headed by a female,
- households with more than 6 children of less than 18 years of age,
- household whose heads are living on daily wages,
- households whose members have less than the primary education,
- households with members without work experience
- households having members only with part-time employment.