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In what ways do definitions of poverty affect conclusions about the extent of poverty in society?

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  • Essay length: 2191 words
  • Submitted: 10/04/2011
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University Degree Political & Economic Sociology

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In what ways do definitions of poverty affect conclusions about the extent of poverty in society?

Definitions of poverty affect conclusions about how much poverty exists in society.

When individuals think of poverty they visualise poor countries like Africa, communities with no food, clean water, clothes, shelter and health needs.

Two main definitions of poverty: absolute and relative, have both individually affected conclusions of the extent of poverty in society. Research shows that there are many factors for poverty and not just lack of food, shelter ect.

Absolute poverty emerged through pioneering research by Charles Booth's London study and Seebohm Rowntree's York study. Poverty was determined by an income level through a 'poverty line' - set by subsistence level and an objective measure.

Although much criticism from sociologists resulted in Rowntrees poverty line being modified by 1930s.

Absolute poverty is basically defined as not having the bare basics to live and physical needs which are usually seen as the most important as each individual needs food, clothing and shelter in order to survive and live healthy life.

One of the first studies of poverty was conducted by sociologist Seebohm Rowntree

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