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Counting the Poor
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Counting the Poor: New Thinking About European Poverty Measures and Lessons for the United States

Douglas J. Besharov and Kenneth A. Couch


The poverty rate is one of the most visible ways in which nations measure the economic well-being of their low-income citizens. To gauge whether a person is poor, European states often focus on a person's relative position in the income distribution to measure poverty while the United States looks at a fixed-income threshold that represents a lower relative standing in the overall distribution to gauge. In Europe, low income is perceived as only one aspect of being socially excluded, so that examining other relative dimensions of family and individual welfare is important. This broad emphasis ... More

Keywords: poverty rate, economic well-being, low-income citizens, family welfare, individual welfare, measures of poverty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2012 Print ISBN-13: 9780199860586
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199860586.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Douglas J. Besharov, editor
University of Maryland

Kenneth A. Couch, editor
University of Connecticut

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