How We Measure Poverty Changes Things

Poverty is a multi-dimensional issue, even if we tend to think of all poverty in the same way. But it’s possible to measure poverty using a wide range of different factors. What gets measured can shift perceptions and policies in big ways.

"The study examined four widely used poverty measurement approaches. Each metric is based on different priorities ranging from reported assets, such as appliances, to self-defined well-being milestones, such as being able to send children to school. Working with colleagues in Ethiopia, Ghana, and Uganda, the Stanford researchers surveyed 16,150 households. Surprisingly, the research revealed almost no agreement in how these approaches ranked households by poverty status. The lack of agreement persisted even among households classified in the bottom 20% in terms of poverty."

Why Our Definition of Poverty Matters | Greater Good Science Center


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Written by

Aaron Miller

Aaron Miller

Provo, UT