Poverty Vs Relative Poverty

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In 2007-8, 13 million people in the United Kingdom were living in relative poverty (Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 2014). Despite this, many of us has a different view of what poverty is, and what it means to be poor. This is because choosing a definition of poverty is extremely complicated - Is poverty a measure of your absolute income or wealth? a measure of how much you have, compared to everyone else ?, or is it a measure of what you can do or purchase with what you have ? Essentially, is poverty an absolute or relative condition?
Poverty means a different thing in different parts of the world. In the UK, a highly developed country, the most widely used definition is a relative definition that the poor are those whose income falls below
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In 20011-12 at least 1 out of every 6 children (17%) in the UK lived in relative poverty. This increased to 27% if measured after housing costs were paid. In addition, children are more likely to live in a low income household than the population in general (Department of Work and Pensions, 2013).
The benefits of the definition of relative poverty are that it makes clear that poverty is not just about basic needs but also what people expect to have as their right in society. It is about what makes life manageable and enjoyable. The negatives of the definition are that inequalities or differences in people can be taken out of context. An individual may be different to their neighbours because they chose to spend their income in a different way.
The relative approach is also not very fitting for the poorest countries, where logically you could conclude that as long as individuals are not starving then they are not poor. This is because no-one would have luxuries and expectations are so much lower in these
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In 2013, approximately 2.3m or just over 10% of all English households were in this category. (Department of Energy and Climate Change, 2014).
Food poverty, as defined as “the inability to afford, or to have access to, food to make up a healthy diet” is another useful concept (Department of Health, 2005). Although the UK is the seventh richest country in the world, some people here struggle to pay for food. One in 6 parents have gone without food themselves in order to be able to feed their families. Over 500,000 people are dependent on food aid. Food poverty in the UK and the use of food banks is regarded by may as a national shame (Cooper & Dumpleton 2013).
In households which cannot afford an adequate diet for their children, 93% have at least one adult who ‘skimps’ on their own food to try to protect the children. Half a million children are not adequately fed in the UK today, not as a result of negligence but due to a lack of money.” (Poverty and Social Exclusion UK,

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