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14 July 2014
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Modern Studies - Wealth and Health Inequalities

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Definitions Of Poverty

There is no one single definition of poverty. One figure which has been suggested is that an income of half the national average indicates poverty. In Scotland this would be an income of £7,000.

Here are some other definitions that organisations use when they're talking about poverty. Read them carefully and think about what they really mean?

"Poverty is defined relative to the standards of living in a society at a specific time. People live in poverty when they are denied an income sufficient for their material needs and when these circumstances exclude them from taking part in activities which are an accepted part of daily life in that society."
Scottish Poverty Information Unit

"The most commonly used way to measure poverty is based on incomes. A person is considered poor if his or her income level falls below some minimum level necessary to meet basic needs. This minimum level is usually called the "poverty line". What is necessary to satisfy basic needs varies across time and societies. Therefore, poverty lines vary in time and place, and each country uses lines which are appropriate to its level of development, societal norms and values."
The World Bank Organisation

"There are basically three current definitions of poverty in common usage: absolute poverty, relative poverty and social exclusion.
Absolute poverty is defined as the lack of sufficient resources with which to keep body and soul together. Relative poverty defines income or resources in relation to the average. It is concerned with the absence of the material needs to participate fully in accepted daily life.
Social exclusion is a new term used by the Government. The Prime Minister described social exclusion as "…a shorthand label for what can happen when individuals or areas suffer from a combination of linked problems such as unemployment, poor skills, low incomes, poor housing, high crime environments, bad health and family breakdown"."
The House of Commons Scottish Affairs Committee





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