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Defining child poverty in South Africa using the socially perceived necessities approach

Defining child poverty in South Africa using the socially perceived necessities approach

PAPER by Helen Barnes and Gemma Wright, originally published by Centre for the Analysis of South African Social Policy, Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford (UK)

March 2011

This paper describes an approach to defining child poverty in South Africa using a socially perceived necessities method which was conceived in Britain in the mid 1980s and subsequently developed.

When applied to the measurement of child poverty, this approach involves asking a representative sample of the (usually adult) population to state which of a list of items is essential for children to have an acceptable standard of living. It is then possible to measure in a survey how many children do not have the items defined as essential and can therefore be considered poor.

The paper begins with a discussion of general issues relevant to poverty definition, and describes the socially perceived necessities approach. A justification for the involvement of children in defining poverty, alongside adults, is put forward and the methodology used to do so in South Africa is described.

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13.09.2016
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