Poverty in perspective

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Claudia Wood, Jo Salter, Gareth Morrell, Matt Barnes, Ally Paget and Duncan O’Leary

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Poverty is not just about income. Poverty as a lived experience is a
complex, multi-dimensional phenomenon spanning one’s social and economic
life – but we have, until now, never really understood how these
different dimensions interact at household level. The way poverty is
currently measured, by looking purely at income, is both too abstract to
relate to people’s everyday lives and not informative enough to help
practitioners tackle entrenched poverty. 
This report develops a pioneering new model to fill this gap in
policy makers’ understanding, revealing how poverty manifests itself in
different ways in different households and putting to bed once and for
all the assumption that those in poverty are a homogeneous group that
can all be helped in the same way. The analysis applies 20 indicators –
spanning health, housing, education, material deprivation and social
networks – to the low income population, to develop different ‘types’ of
poverty. Each type must be addressed by a different combination of
services and interventions. 
The findings – and the model we have used to generate them – are
entirely new. This is the first time anyone has attempted to
systematically break down the in-poverty population into different
groups and the insights of this analysis touch upon a range of policy
areas – from wage distribution to housing. The report challenges
established preconceptions about life in poverty, but also has vitally
important implications for how we tackle it.


Households and Poverty



Used by DEMOS as written evidence for: Great Britain. Parliament. House of Commons. Women and Equalities Commission (2016) ‘Employment opportunities for Muslims in the UK. Second report of session 2016–17. Report, together with formal minutes relating to the report. Ordered by the House of Commons to be printed 12 July 2016’. London: TSO.