8 ways to measure poverty

David Farrar

The Maxim Institute has a very thoughtful discussion paper on poverty. They pose a number of questions, and also outline eight different ways you can measure poverty. (See report below) 

They eight ways are:

  1. Average income threshold – a percentage of mean or median income
  2. Consumption expenditure – a percentage of amount spent on consumption compared to average household
  3. Budget standards – based on a budget judged high enough to avoid deprivation
  4. Component and multiplier – based on amount needed for an essential such as food, and multiplied
  5. Subjective measures – based on self-assessment as poor
  6. Benefit-based/statutory measures – based on government definition of minimum income
  7. Material deprivation indices – based on actually lacking essential necessities
  8. Multi-dimensional measurement of poverty, deprivation or social exclusion – a mixture of the above and more

No measure is prefect. I don’t like the income measures because they treat all households as identical in terms of needs, and they are more about income spread than actual poverty. They also avoid the effect of tax, as they tend to be on before tax incomes.

My preference is No 7.  Stats NZ already do this – an occasional survey asking if families can afford stuff such as more than two pairs of shoes for kids, transport to school etc etc. This is relatively objective, and measures actual deprivation rather than merely equality of income.

Political commentator David Farrar posts at Kiwiblog.


Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

This article is tagged with the following keywords. Find out more about MyNBR Tags

NZ Market Snapshot

Forex

Sym Price Change
USD 0.7046 0.0031 0.44%
AUD 0.9465 0.0056 0.60%
EUR 0.6298 0.0039 0.62%
GBP 0.5504 0.0076 1.40%
HKD 5.4891 0.0245 0.45%
JPY 78.3890 0.0010 0.00%

Commods

Commodity Price Change Time
Gold Index 1266.7 11.460 2017-05-26T00:
Oil Brent 52.5 0.720 2017-05-26T00:
Oil Nymex 49.8 0.910 2017-05-26T00:
Silver Index 17.3 0.130 2017-05-26T00:

Indices

Symbol Open High Last %
NZX 50 7434.5 7441.6 7434.5 0.10%
NASDAQ 6207.0 6211.5 6205.2 0.08%
DAX 12604.4 12611.5 12621.7 -0.15%
DJI 21070.2 21092.8 21083.0 -0.01%
FTSE 7517.7 7554.2 7517.7 0.40%
HKSE 25671.0 25724.4 25630.8 0.03%
NI225 19798.5 19801.6 19813.1 -0.64%
ASX 5789.6 5789.6 5789.6 -0.65%