How to measure Poverty In Ireland

What is Poverty? Poverty is when a person or a family does not have enough money to meet basic needs such as clothes, food and shelter. People may experience debt, social exclusion, and be unable to afford education, housing and even medical bills of any kind. Consequences of poverty can affect both the physical and mental health of those experiencing it, as well as, having high economic costs, and can result in a rise in crime and drug culture. There is a number of ways to measure poverty; the first one I am going to discuss is Measuring Relative Poverty.

Relative Poverty means having an income below 60% of he median income for an adult per week. For example, if the median income is в?200 per adult per week and the said adult earns Just в?180 per week they are said to be experiencing relative poverty. To put it simply relative poverty is a measure of income inequality. This method is quite useful in measuring poverty in 1st World Countries (Developed Countries). Its works particularly well and can be quite accurate in developed countries because they tend to have all employed and unemployed people on record and know exactly how much people are earning.

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Whereas, in developing Mounties the information they have (if any) on their population can be inaccurate and definitely less trust worthy. I think that this is definitely a good way to measure poverty once you can be sure that the information supplied to you is accurate. The only discrepancy I see in this method is that it is not thorough enough and does not look at the daily struggles people face like measuring consistent poverty does. Measuring relative Poverty changes with a nations view on what a decent standard of living is. Another way to measure poverty is Measuring Consistent Poverty.

Like measuring relative poverty, measuring consistent poverty also means having an income below 60% of the median income per adult per week, but also “experiencing enforced deprivation”‘. It means that a person is earning below 60% of the median income and is unable to afford fundamental commodities like new clothes, “not being able to afford food such as meats or fish”ii, being unable to heat your home, or having to go into debt in order to pay your bills. Measuring consistent poverty is more appropriate for developing nations where people are faced with starvation and death daily.

Measuring Relative Poverty would not work here because most people would have no income at all and those who earn over 60% of the median may still be facing starvation or death too. I definitely feel that measuring consistent poverty is a more accurate measure of poverty because it does not measure poverty in terms of how a nation decides what a decent standard of living is but in fact measures it in terms of how people are coping with what they earn. The final way to measure poverty which I am going to discuss is the United Nations Poverty Index.

The United Nations Poverty Index is based on 3 key factors; survival, knowledge and a decent standard of living. Is does not measure poverty with respect to income. It is “derived separately for developing countries and a group of select high-income countries to better reflect socio-economic differences and also the widely different measures of deprivation in the two groups”iii. The first factor in which they take into account is survival; they look at what the probability is of what the average age the average person will live to.

In developing countries they usually set the age at 40 years of age whereas in high-income (developed countries) they use 60 years of age and then compare the results. The second factor in which they use to measure poverty is knowledge (or literacy). They accumulate the percentile of adults that are able to both read and write. The UN (United Nations) believes that being excluded from the “world of reading and communication” is definitely an indication of poverty.

The third (and final) aspect they use to measure poverty is the overall standard of standard of living. They look at the countries “overall economic provisioning”iv and then make a Judgment on the situation. I believe that this is quite a useful way to measure poverty but only for extremely poor countries (developing Mounties). With such a big body like the UN they need a general system like this in place in order to measure poverty in multiple countries and then compare them with one another.

Personally I think that measuring relative poverty is the best and most efficient way to measure poverty in Ireland. Ireland is a first world country and, before the recession, had a low percentage of unemployment. The issues I have with this method are that I think it should take into account the daily disadvantages people may or may not face. This would increase accuracy and give the country more knowledge on how poor people facing poverty really are.

It is also based on what the government believes is a decent standard of living, which I think is very hard to Judge and could cause for discrepancies in the resulting statistic. In respect to the other two measures (measuring consistent poverty and the United Nations poverty index), I feel that they would not be Justified in Ireland because the poverty in Ireland is not anywhere near as serve as it is in developing countries, but I do think that we could do with implementing some of the characteristics from these measures in order to increase the accuracy of our measure.

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Sarah
Danielle
Wilson
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