What is Poverty? Who Decides How We Define Poverty?

How We Define Poverty

What is poverty? Who decides how we define poverty? To answer these and other questions relate to poverty, ATD Fourth World, in partnership with Oxford University, conducted a participatory international research project called “The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty”. The project took place in six countries: Bangladesh, Bolivia, France, Tanzania, the United Kingdom and the United States.

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For three years, people living in poverty, professionals and academics worked together to clarify how we define poverty and its multi-dimensional aspects. Research teams defined nine interdependent dimensions common to all six countries. The long-term goal of this project is to help develop better policies to eradicate poverty.

Download the full “The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty” report.

Read more about this research and the nine dimensions of poverty:

“Being a victim of prejudice, first considered as poor, but not as a human being. Having the label of poor. There is a duality: on the one side, people living in poverty are invisible. On the other hand they are visible because they are stigmatised.”

(Academic peer group, France)

4 comments Leave a comment
  1. Can we agree that poverty is: “The inability to maintain an acceptable standard of living, independently”. The “acceptable standard” is subjective and can be whatever anyone wants it to be. This would make income irrelevent. It would change the focus from “accomodating poverty” to “encouraging independence”. Consider the social, economic and psychological effects on the individual and society.

  2. poor and poverty may be synonymous or similar but not alike. I may be poor compared to others who has more in life but I am not living in poverty. those in poverty are already those who can not eat 3 times a day regularly, or if they can eat 3 times a day regularly, they eat food which is not the normal or usual food eaten by most if not all people in an area or community. For instance, filipinos eat cooked rice,their staple and daily meal. but some eat 4 Pandesal(salted bread) or just any bread(which is usually for snack) for one meal or breakfast. This is what they can afford with their meager money. beggars and the homeless are the one who live in dire poverty. They are not only poor but living in poverty. the Poor are those who have still 3 regular meals, have a source of livelihood albeit earning meagerly, have a home, clothings, and even a little savings and can send their children to school but up to secondary as they can not afford tertiary education. The Philippines have yet to record people who dies because of hunger.

  3. Poverty is caused by greed, and it is a real thing that billions of people suffer from. The lack of income is the main cause of poverty. If there was a universal basic income there would be no poverty.

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